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Dance to the Music: The Effects of Moving on Emotional Responsiveness

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posted on 2021-05-22, 16:32 authored by Lucy McGarry
In the current study I examined whether interpretive movement to music enhances emotional experience of the music, in dancers and non-dancers. Participants interacted with a series of musical excerpts, varying in valence and arousal, by either sitting still (still condition), moving arms up and down to the beat of the music (constrained condition), or gesturing their arms freely to the music (free condition), allowing for creative interpretation. Physiological and self-reported emotional responses to these songs were compared post-interaction. I found that after free gesturing, experienced dancers had polarized valence and arousal ratings towards happy vs. sad excerpts as opposed to after still and constrained conditions. Similar results were obtained of skin conductance (sweat) and zygomaticus major (smiling) responses. Non-dancers showed no difference in ratings or physiological responses between interaction conditions. This suggests that the effects of movement on emotional responsiveness to music are mediated by dance training.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type