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Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, PhD

Professor and Interim Associate Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs
Motor Behavior
338 Claxton Complex


KNS 290 Principles of Skill Learning & Movement Control
KNS 534 Motor Behavior & Skill Acquisition
KNS 536 Expert Performance in Sport

My research focuses on the identification of factors that contribute to optimal performance, learning, and retention of motor skills. Specifically, I study the effects of factors in the instructional setting that are under the control of the practitioner (e.g. coaches, physical therapists, fitness instructors, military and industrial trainers, and physical education teachers). Some examples include:

  • Self-control effects on motor learning (i.e., the efforts of providing learners with control over some aspect of the instructional settings such as feedback administration or amount of practice)
  • Task switching effects on motor performance (i.e., the effects of the order in which different tasks are performed)
  • Practice schedule effects (i.e., the effects of the order in which multiple tasks are practiced; also known as contextual interference effects)
  • The effects of repeated testing on motor skill retention
  • Attentional focus effects (i.e., the effects of instructions that direct participants’ attentional focus to various cues)


Ph.D. Florida State University Movement Science
(Motor Learning & Control)
M.S. California Polytechnic State University,
San Luis Obispo
Physical Education
(Exercise Science & Health Promotion)
B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara English

2012–Present    Interim Department Head, Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of                                           Tennessee, Knoxville (formerly Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies)
2009–Present    Associate Professor, Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of                                                   Tennessee, Knoxville (formerly Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies)
2003–2009        Assistant Professor, Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies, University of Tennessee,                                             Knoxville (formerly Exercise, Sport & Leisure Studies)
2000–2003        Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, Towson University

My teaching is guided by a strong desire to help each student master content knowledge and disciplinary specific skills that will support the capacity for problem solving and critical thinking in real world settings.

2010     George F. Brady Teaching Award, Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies, University of Tennessee
2007     Helen B. Watson Outstanding Faculty Research Award, College of Education, Health, and                                Human Sciences, University of Tennessee


  • The effects on self-controlled feedback on the performance and learning of speeded-response tasks
  • The effects of attentional focus instructions on postural sway during quiet standing balance on compliant and non-compliant surfaces
  • The effects of an external focus of attention on stability during ladder-based construction-industry tasks
  • The effects of self-controlled feedback on information processing during movement planning and decisions to request feedback
  • The effects of corrective and confirmatory feedback on motor learning


  • University of Tennessee Faculty Senate
  • University Task Force on TALEO in Faculty Hiring
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Motor Learning and Development

Paquette, M.R., Zhang, S., Milner, C.E., Fairbrother, J.T., & Reinbolt, J. (2014). Effects of increased step width on frontal plane knee biomechanics in healthy adults during stair descent. The Knee, 21, 821-826.

Post, P.G., Fairbrother, J.T., Barros, J.A.C., & Klupa, J. (2014). Self-controlled within a fixed time period facilitates the learning of a basketball set shot. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 2, 9-15.

Tate, J.J., Milner, C.E., Fairbrother, J.T., & Zhang, S. (2013). The effects of a home-based instructional program aimed at improving frontal plane knee biomechanics during a jump-landing task. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 43, 7, 486-494.

Ali, A., Fawver, B., Kim, J., Fairbrother, J.T., & Janelle, C. (2012). Too much of a good thing: random practice scheduling and self-control of feedback lead to unique but not additive learning benefits. Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology, 3, 503. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00503

Aiken, C., Fairbrother, J.T., & Post, P.G. (2012). The effects of self-controlled video feedback on the basketball set shot. Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology, 3, 323. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00338.

Fairbrother, J.T., Laughlin, D.D., & Nguyen, T.V. (2012). Self-controlled feedback facilitates motor learning in both high and low activity individuals. Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology, 3, 323. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00323.

Milner, C.E., Fairbrother, J.T., Srivatsan, A., & Zhang, S. (2012). Simple verbal instruction improves knee biomechanics during landing in female athletes. The Knee, 19, 399-403.

Post, P.G., Fairbrother, J.T., & Barros, J.A.C. (2011). Self-controlled amount of practice benefits learning of a motor skill. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 82, 3, 1-8.

Fairbrother, J.T. & Barros, J.A.C. (2010). The effects of repeated retention tests can benefit as well as degrade timing performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 81, 2, 171-179. 


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