Effects of somatic movement and music upon the psychophysiology of children.

  • Locke M
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In view of the important role that the arts play in our everyday lives, it is surprising that the arts are often relegated to the fringes of the school curriculum. This study addresses that issue by exploring whether music and dance affect the psychophysiology of school children. For this study, 40 4th-graders were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Children in the experimental group participated in six classes focused on music and dance-like movement that facilitated somatic (inner) awareness. Children in the control group listened to stories about musicians and dancers. Before and after the series of classes, all children were individually assessed at a research institute for an array of psychophysiological measures: electromyography (EMG) for upper trapezius and anterior temporalis muscles, heart rate, skin conductance levels, hand temperatures, and electroencephalography (EEG) for alpha, beta, and theta brainwaves. Four conditions were used during the 16-minute recording period: two passive conditions (eyes open; eyes closed) were followed by two active conditions (eyes open while listening to music; eyes closed with inner reflection). Analyses included descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and post hoc tests. Results showed that there were statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups in the post-session recordings as compared to the pre-session. These significant session-by-group differences were revealed for EEG measures of beta and theta brainwaves and for hand temperatures. Discussion of the research includes implications for enhancing the relaxed and attentive behavior of children through music and dance education. Suggestions for future research include both traditional and action research designs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Dance
  • Music
  • Psychophysiology
  • children
  • music
  • psychophysiology
  • somatic movement

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  • Marianne E Locke

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