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Perceiving Dance

Schematic Expectations Guide Experts' Scanning of a Contemporary Dance Film

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Eye fixations and saccades (eye movements) of expert and novice dance observers were compared to determine the effect of acquired expectations on observations of human movement, body morphology, and dance configurations. As hypothesized, measured fixation times of dance experts were significantly shorter than those of novices. In a second viewing of the same sequences, novices recorded significantly shorter fixations than those recorded during viewing session 1. Saccades recorded from experts were significantly faster than those of novices. Although both experts and novices fixated background regions, most likely making use of extrafoveal or peripheral vision to anticipate movement and configurations, novices fixated background regions significantly more than experts in viewing session 1. Their enhanced speed of visual processing suggests that dance experts are adept at anticipating movement and rapidly processing material, probably aided by acquired schemata or expectations in long-term memory and recognition of body and movement configurations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychology and MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney – Bankstown, Locked Bag 1797, South Penrith DC NSW 1797 Australia. [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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