Perception of Movement Qualities Associated with Expertise in Dance
Henley, Matthew Kenney
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It is believed that participation in the arts is a vital component of development, and that dance education can support the understanding of human movement as an important source of meaning. However, psychometric measurement in the arts, which would help substantiate this claim, is not widely practiced. This research, contributes to the quantitative research foundation in dance education by investigating perceptual-cognitive differences associated with expertise in dance. In this dissertation, novice and expert contemporary dancers watched pairs of video-recorded short contemporary dance phrases, which were either the same choreography or contained a single manipulation to an element of the choreographic phrase associated with Shape, Time, or Space. After watching each pair, participants were asked to select from one of four options they felt best reflected the quality that had been changed between the videos: Shape, Time, Space, and No Difference. Participants' responses were summed within categories and group means were compared. No differences were found between novices and experts in the discrimination of manipulations to Shape, however, significant differences were found between novices and experts in the discrimination of manipulations to Space and Time. Although reliability analyses indicate that further instrument development is required before strong conclusions can be drawn, the data initially support the idea that contemporary dancers are able to discern spatial and temporal elements of contemporary dance better than novices. This is consistent with research from neuroscience that suggests experience modulates neural processing in areas of the brain responsible for the comparison of production and perception through simulation. Further, this data suggests that processes of simulation provide unique access to spatial and temporal information. It is the hope of this researcher that once the perceptual-cognitive skills associated with experience in dance are better defined, they can be used to support the framing of dance education, not just as peripheral, but integral to the cognitive and social-emotional development of all students.
- Education - Seattle