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Dance Expertise modulates behavioural and psychophysiological responses to affective body movement

Christensen, J.F., Gomila, A., Gaigg, S. B. , Sivarajah, N. & Calvo-Merino, B. (2016). Dance Expertise modulates behavioural and psychophysiological responses to affective body movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 42(8), pp. 1139-1147. doi: 10.1037/xhp0000176


The present study shows how motor expertise increases sensitivity to affective body movement at the behavioural and physiological level. Nineteen affective movement experts (professional ballet dancers) and twenty-four controls watched 96 video clips of emotionally expressive body movements while they performed an affect rating task (subjective response) and their galvanic skin response was recorded (psychophysiological response). The movements in the clips were either sad or happy, and in half of the trials movements were played in the order in which they are learned (forward presentation), and in the other half, backwards (control condition). Results showed that motor expertise in affective body movement specifically modulated both behavioural and physiological sensitivity to others’ affective body movement, and that this sensitivity is particularly strong when movements are shown in the way they are learnt (forward presentation). The evidence is discussed within current theories of proprioceptive arousal feedback and motor simulation accounts.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright APA 2015. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: affect; emotion; expertise; neuroaesthetics; galvanic response; motor simulation; empathy, dance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Christensen%2C Gomila%2C Gaigg%2C Sivarajah %26 Calvo-Merino %2820xx%29_prepub.pdf]
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