“The Neurocognition of Movement Synchrony in Dance” – dr. Guido Orgs (Goldsmiths, University of London)
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Synchronizing movement is a central feature of the performing arts, including dance, theatre, and music. I will present findings from a recently completed research project that investigated social functions and the aesthetics of performing and perceiving synchronous movements in contemporary dance performance. We conducted two large-scale live performance experiments in which participants performed a set of choreographed tasks that were either performed as a group or individually. During performing and watching these tasks, we assessed movement synchrony among performers as well as heart rate and aesthetic experience among spectators. Movement synchrony is associated with group affiliation among performers and predicts spectators’ affective response to the live performance. Using neuroimaging methods, we can also show that human brain areas for movement perception respond more strongly to synchronous than asynchronous movement. Our findings point to an evolutionary function of dance – and perhaps all performing arts – in communicating social signals between groups of people.
Guido Orgs received his training in Performing Dance (Folkwang University of the Arts) and Psychology (University of Dusseldorf) in Germany. After completion of his Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience on the meaning of sounds, he performed with German Dance Company NEUER TANZ/VA WÖLFL at international theatre venues and dance festivals, including the Theatre de la Ville, Paris, kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels and Julidans, Amsterdam. In 2009, he moved to London to work at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, conducting research on how we perceive other people’s movements and how the brain mechanisms of movement perception underlie the aesthetics of dance and the performing arts. Since September 2015 he is a Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London directing a new Masters in Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics, and Creativity.