The Neurocognition of Dance: Mind, Movement and Motor Skills, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Neurocognition of Dance

Mind, Movement and Motor Skills, 1st Edition

Edited by Bettina Bläsing, Martin Puttke, Thomas Schack

Psychology Press

264 pages | 43 B/W Illus.

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Dance has always been an important aspect of all human cultures, and the study of human movement and action has become a topic of increasing relevance over the last decade, bringing dance into the focus of the cognitive sciences. This book discusses the wide range of interrelations between body postures and body movements as conceptualised in dance with perception, mental processing and action planning.

The volume brings together cognitive scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, choreographers, and ballet teachers, to discuss important issues regarding dance and cognition. First, scientists introduce ideas that offer different perspectives on human movement. Professionals from the world of dance then go on to report how their creative and pedagogical work relates to cognition and learning. Finally, researchers with personal links to the dance world demonstrate how neurocognitive methods are applied to studying different aspects related to dance.

This book is suitable for students and professionals from the fields of neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, sport psychology and sport science, movement science, motor control and development, kinesiology, cognitive robotics, dance, choreography, dance education and therapy.


"This book is the first of its kind, combining science with the art of dance. The editors provide an appealing and informative overview of cognitive and neuroscientific approaches to dance, and use clear, effective diction to deepen the understanding of the physical, neural and cognitive principles of human motor learning." - Juliane Jacqueline Honisch, Behavioural Brain Sciences, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK

"This text provides a successful and exciting interdisciplinary approach to complex human behavior. It is suitable for students and researchers in the field of motor research in psychology and neuroscience, as well as for persons in sport education with a deep interest in dance from a practical and theoretical perspective." Andrea Kiesel, Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology, University of Wuerzburg, Germany

"Actions speak louder than words, but this book finds the words and pictures with which to give actions their voice. It does so by focusing on actions which are expressive and emotional rather than instrumental, the actions of dance, in a way which enriches and is enriched by new studies of the cognitive science and neuroscience of action." - Michael Arbib, USC Brain Project, University of Southern California, USA

Table of Contents

I. Wachsmuth, Preface. B. Bläsing, M. Puttke, T. Schacke, Preface: Towards a Neurocognitive Science of Dance - Two Worlds Approaching or Two Approaches to the Same World of Movement? Part 1. The Scientist's Perspective. T. Schack, "Do Your Senses Tingle?" Building Blocks and Architecture of Dance. D. Rosenbaum, Shall We Dance? Action Researchers and Dancers Can Move Together. H. Cruse, M. Schilling, Getting Cognitive. B. Bläsing, The Dancer's Memory: Expertise and Cognitive Structures in Dance.Part 2. The Dance Perspective. M. Puttke, Learning to Dance Means Learning to Think! G. Zöllig, Searching for That Other Land of Dance: The Phases in Developing a Choreography. G. BenZion, Overcoming the Dyslexia Barrier: The Role of Kinesthetic Stimuli in the Teaching of Spelling. Part 3. Neurocognitive Studies of Dance. B. Calvo-Merino, Neural Mechansims for Seeing Dance. E. Cross, Building a Dance in the Human Brain: Insights from Expert and Novice Dancers. C. Jola, Research and Choreography: Merging Dance and Cognitive Neuroscience.

About the Editors

Bettina Bläsing is a research scientist at the Neurocognition and Action Research Group at Bielefeld University, responsible investigator at the Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC), and member of the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab). Her main research interests are the control and learning of complex movements, mental representations of the body, movement, actions and skills and neurocognitive aspects and expertise in dance.

Martin Puttke was formerly a dancer, headmaster and artistic director of the State Ballet School Berlin. He was also the ballet director of the State Opera Ballet Company Berlin and of the Aalto Ballett Theater Essen. He is a renowned ballet pedagogue. In 1988 he became a Professor at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch" Berlin. His main interest is the renewal of the school of classical dance by his new system DANAMOS.

Thomas Schack is Professor and head of the Neurocognition and Action Research Group at Bielefeld University. He is principal investigator at the Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) and member of the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab). His main research interests concern mental movement representation, mental training, cognitive robotics and the neurocognitive basis of complex movement.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology