Dr. Rebecca Lewthwaite received her PhD in kinesiology (what in Australia we call exercise science or human movement) from UCLA. She is Director of Research and Education in Physical Therapy and Director of Rehabilitation Outcomes Management at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, and an adjunct faculty member in biokinesiology and physical therapy at the University of Southern California (USC).
Dr. Lewthwaite’s research focuses on the role of confidence and autonomy support in motor performance and learning, in a variety of individuals, from those undergoing physical rehabilitation to developing and high-performing athletes. Recent work includes the facilitation of confidence building in individuals recovering from stroke. As an investigator in the recent ICARE clinical trial in stroke rehabilitation, Dr. Lewthwaite co-designed with Carolee Winstein the investigational Accelerated Skill Acquisition Program (ASAP) around skill acquisition principles common to OPTIMAL theory. She was an intercollegiate athlete in two sports and a coach on a national championship softball team at UCLA. She and Gaby Wulf co-authored the OPTIMAL theory of motor performance and learning.
Dr. Gabriele Wulf is a sport scientist with PhDs from the German Sports University in Cologne and the University of Munich. She is a UNLV Distinguished Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Dr. Wulf has conducted research in motor learning for more than 30 years. She studies factors that influence the learning of motor skills, including attentional focus and motivational variables. She has published approximately 200 journal articles and book chapters, as well as two books, both of which I have read, and they are both excellent!
Dr. Wulf has received various awards for her research, including UNLV’s Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award. She was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology and given the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity’s (NASPSPA) Distinguished Scholar Award. She has served as President of NASPSPA and the Founding Editor of two journals in the movement sciences. Dr. Wulf has given keynote addresses to national and international societies in movement science and physical therapy. She and Rebecca Lewthwaite co-authored the OPTIMAL theory of motor performance and learning.
- Optimizing performance through intrinsic motivation and attention for learning: The OPTIMAL theory of motor learning (Wulf & Lewthwaite, 2016)
- Optimizing motivation and attention for motor performance and learning (Lewthwaite & Wulf, 2017)
- Triple play: Additive contributions of enhanced expectancies, autonomy support, and external attentional focus to motor learning (Wulf et al., 2018)