Sara Catellani

Observing the creative body. Neural mechanisms involved in early aesthetic perception of the dancing body

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Neuroaesthetic; Mirror System; Dance Audience Research.

In the last decade, an increasing number of researchers have investigated the processes implied in the observation and in the performance of movement and their related cortical activations, identifying in dance a fruitful object of research. This performative art seems to offer a promising site of research especially for the in-depth analysis of the mechanisms of embodied simulation and the role of the mirror-neuron system during the observation of other people's movement. I will introduce a selection of articles, which present the dancing body to subjects without any specific motor expertise, to propose a review of the contributions of the neuroscience field to the neural correlates involved in the aesthetic experience of the non-dancer who observes the dance. The first two articles focus on the identification of the cortical activations designated for the aesthetic perception of the stimulus-body, standstill or in movement, contributing to an understanding of the cortical areas involved and the identification of some specific characteristics of the stimulus, which could induce a greater aesthetic participation. The studies presented in the third chapter have the common characteristic of considering the spectator as an active subject in the performative exchange, questioning the effects the individual perception of reproducibility of the observed movement and the preceding visual experience have on the fluctuations of cortical excitability recorded during the observation of the performance. The first results of this interesting branch of the research field, involving neuroscientists, choreographers, psychologists and dancers highlight the importance of the role of the sensorimotor mechanisms in granting the possibility of the aesthetic experience, and they represent the starting point for a wider and more inclusive interdisciplinary approach which could inform us on why we observe dance.

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