The Neuroscience of Movement: You Think, So You Can Dance?


Although humans have expressed themselves through movement throughout time, only recently have neurophysiological investigative techniques allowed us to glimpse the complex neural processes that allow the coordination and integration of thought, action, and perception. This course introduces students to the nascent yet growing field of dance neuroscience. In part one of this course, we explore fundamental concepts of motor control including how our central nervous system integrates information to allow us to maintain posture and balance, to coordinate our limbs to external rhythms, and to move our bodies gracefully and expressively through space and time. In part two, we explore theoretical frameworks of motor learning as they pertain to movement. We delve into the neuromechanisms underlying common tools that dancers and athletes use to improve motor performance and how dance training induces neuroplasticity in brain structure and function. In part three, we explore the neural underpinnings of aesthetic appreciation while watching dance, including the action observation network and affective responses to art. Required work includes short assignments, a final project and presentation on a topic of your choice related to the course focus, and a few movement workshops (for which dance training is not required). PREREQ: Introductory course in one of the fields of dance, biology, or neuroscience, or permission from the instructor.
Course Attributes: FA NSM; BU SCI; AR NSM; AS NSM

Section 01

The Neuroscience of Movement: You Think, So You Can Dance?
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