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Joint action aesthetics.

Vicary, S; Sperling, M; von Zimmermann, J; Richardson, DC; Orgs, G; (2017) Joint action aesthetics. PLoS One , 12 (7) , Article e0180101. 10.1371/journal.pone.0180101. Green open access

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Abstract

Synchronized movement is a ubiquitous feature of dance and music performance. Much research into the evolutionary origins of these cultural practices has focused on why humans perform rather than watch or listen to dance and music. In this study, we show that movement synchrony among a group of performers predicts the aesthetic appreciation of live dance performances. We developed a choreography that continuously manipulated group synchronization using a defined movement vocabulary based on arm swinging, walking and running. The choreography was performed live to four audiences, as we continuously tracked the performers' movements, and the spectators' affective responses. We computed dynamic synchrony among performers using cross recurrence analysis of data from wrist accelerometers, and implicit measures of arousal from spectators' heart rates. Additionally, a subset of spectators provided continuous ratings of enjoyment and perceived synchrony using tablet computers. Granger causality analyses demonstrate predictive relationships between synchrony, enjoyment ratings and spectator arousal, if audiences form a collectively consistent positive or negative aesthetic evaluation. Controlling for the influence of overall movement acceleration and visual change, we show that dance communicates group coordination via coupled movement dynamics among a group of performers. Our findings are in line with an evolutionary function of dance-and perhaps all performing arts-in transmitting social signals between groups of people. Human movement is the common denominator of dance, music and theatre. Acknowledging the time-sensitive and immediate nature of the performer-spectator relationship, our study makes a significant step towards an aesthetics of joint actions in the performing arts.

Type: Article
Title: Joint action aesthetics.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180101
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180101
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Vicary et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1567646
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