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Dance as a Subject for Empirical Aesthetics

Christensen, J.F. & Calvo-Merino, B. (2013). Dance as a Subject for Empirical Aesthetics. PSYCHOLOGY OF AESTHETICS CREATIVITY AND THE ARTS, 7(1), pp. 76-88. doi: 10.1037/a0031827


The purpose of this paper is to highlight the possibilities that research on dance appreciation offers empirical aesthetics, as well as the challenges it poses. Behavioral and neuroimaging approaches have, to date, mainly focused on the perception and recognition of human body movement and structure. A small number of studies, nonetheless, have explicitly taken the basic research on the perceptual, emotional and cognitive processes engaged during movement observation, together with their neural concomitants, as a starting point to understand the aesthetic experience triggered by the observation of a dance. We provide an overview of these studies and, thereafter, point out avenues for future research on dance appreciation within the scope of empirical aesthetics. We also note some methodological and conceptual issues that should be taken into account in the design of empirical studies of the aesthetic appreciation of dance, including dance theory scholarship and humanistic approaches to dance practice. Finally, we describe how common movement features of dance styles around the world suggest that humans may be endowed with an evolved cognitive ability to appreciate and to be aesthetically moved by dance.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Humanities, Multidisciplinary, Psychology, Experimental, Arts & Humanities - Other Topics, Psychology, PSYCHOLOGY, EXPERIMENTAL, neuroaesthetics, dance, body, movement, aesthetic experience, EXTRASTRIATE BODY AREA, POINT-LIGHT DISPLAYS, BIOLOGICAL MOTION, OCCIPITOTEMPORAL CORTEX, MAGNETIC STIMULATION, EMOTIONAL MODULATION, PREMOTOR CORTEX, PERFORMING ART, BRAIN ACTIVITY, NEURAL BASIS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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