Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Spectators’ Experience of Watching Dance without Music: A cognitive semiotic exploration of kinesthetic empathy" (Katja Woxell, Jordan Zlatev, Joost van de Weijer, LU)

14 mars 2024 15:15 till 16:30 Seminarium

In this talk, Katja (with help from Jordan and Joost) will present research coming from her MA thesis, already on the way to being transformed into a journal paper. We need your feedback! We will begin convening from 15:00 as usual, and the talk will start from 15:15 in H402 "in real life" - but will be available through the usual zoom link as well for those who cannot make it.

Movement is a primary means for perceiving, interacting with and constructing our life world.  Upon observing others’ movements we are moved ourselves, not only because movements are affectively charged but also because we understand others through them. In movement perception, and in particular in dance spectatorship, we experience observed movements through our own bodies: kinesthetic empathy. However, it has been unclear what exactly kinesthetic empathy encompasses on an experiential level, as dance spectatorship research has been dominated by brain-oriented studies.

We report on a study, from the first author's MA thesis in 2021, exploring the nature of kinesthetic empathy in connection with how spectators experience movement – the core element of dance – from the perspective of cognitive semiotics. Twenty participants, grouped as either familiar or unfamiliar with dance, watched two short dance performances, one in classical ballet and the other in con- temporary dance. The two dances differed in terms of qualities of movement (Sheets-Johnstone 2015). Participants’ skin conductance and respiration were measured as they watched the dance performances. After that, they answered a questionnaire and were interviewed regarding their feelings and attitudes as well as evaluations of the performance and dance movements. 

The results showed above all that the spectators’ psycho-physiological responses across the two dances differed, but that the difference also depended on the degree of familiarity. There were clearer correlations between the skin conductance and respiration data and the introspections for the Familiar group, suggesting that familiarity does indeed play a role in kinesthetic empathy. Based on these findings, we propose a two-level model of kinesthetic empathy in which the pre-conscious level is mani- fested in psychophysiological responses, and the conscious level in imagined movements, reflected in explicit introspections about feelings and attitudes. Dance familiarity appears to affect the second of these levels, as well as how well-connected it is to the pre-conscious level.

Om händelsen:

14 mars 2024 15:15 till 16:30

IRL: room H402, online: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/61502831303


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