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Frank Pollick, Naree Kim, Seon Hee Jang; Using intersubject correlation of fMRI data to explore similarities and differences in action representation of Classical, Romantic and Modern ballet styles. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1012. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1012.
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Theories of the neural systems involved in human movement processing do not clearly predict differences for the processing of different styles of movements. This can be seen in contrast to domains like dance where different styles of movement have developed for aesthetic and emotional effect. Taken together this would suggest the hypothesis that differences in the visual processing of dance styles would be minimal and that higher order cognitive areas would support differences in dance interpretation. To test this hypothesis we used fMRI to explore brain activity when novices viewed different styles of ballet. Visual stimuli were videos of 90-second long solo dances of Romantic ballet (Giselle), Classical ballet (Swan Lake) and Modern ballet (Agon). Stimuli were controlled by using the same dancer, costume, background, and starting posture. The order of the three videos was counterbalanced among 18 novice observers as they were scanned in a Siemens 3T Tim Trio scanner. Data were analysed with Brainvoyager QX and the Matlab-based Intersubject Correlation (ISC) Toolbox (Kauppi, et al., 2010). Preprocessing of the data included spatial smoothing with a Gaussian kernel of 6mm FWHM and coregistration of functional and anatomic data. Results of the ISC analysis provided a correlation map for each dance that showed largely overlapping regions in bilateral occipital cortex for all dances; no correlations were reported in frontal cortex. Statistical comparison of correlation maps of the three dances revealed differences. In particular, the Romantic dance revealed greater correlation in right somatosensory cortex and right inferior parietal lobe while the Classical dance revealed greater correlation in right lingual gyrus. These differences are consistent with ideas that form is critical for Classical ballet while emotion and kinesthesis are important for Romantic ballet. More importantly, results suggest a bottom-up role for basic mechanisms of movement processing to differentiate between dance styles.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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