Dr Corinne Jola

Senior Lecturer

School School of Applied Sciences

Department Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8756

Biography

My research merges Cognitive Neuroscience with the performing arts, i.e., dance, theatre and music. I am one of the founders of modern empirical psychological research in dance with over 15 years of experience in this interdisciplinary field.  

I hold a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, and an MA equivalent licentiate in Psychology both from the University of Zurich. In addition, I am also a trained and practicing choreographer. I hold a MA with distinction in Choreography from Laban Trinity Conservatoire of Music and Dance and a postgraduate degree in Dance Culture from the University of Berne.  

Studying the cognitive and neuronal responses in relation to the performing arts can provide us with extraordinary insights into the human brain and behaviour. How can a dancer train his or her mind to perform to absolute perfection? When do we experience presence? What does an actor do? The empirical study of such questions can provide us with basic psychological knowledge as well as a huge potential for impact. I am intersted in how dance can help improve the health and wellbeing for people in general and those who suffer from long-term mental and physical issues (i.e., rehabilitation of stroke patients, dealing with depressive symptomes, enhancing confidence and managing body image issues).  

I’ve been publishing my research on spectators' and dancers' brain and behaviour in international peer reviewed journals and book chapters. I enjoy sharing my findings and fascination about the effects dance can have on the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.I use behavioural experiments and qualitative research as well as brain imaging and transcranial magnet stimulation. Where possible, I base my research on ‘embodied practices’ – for more information see my website www.CoCoDanse.com.

Before joining Abertay University, I held Post-Doctoral research positions at the University of Glasgow, University of Surrey, and at INSERM in Paris. I collaborated with internationally acclaimed dance and theatre companies, such as EGIPC in Amsterdam, The Centre National de la Danse in Paris, Rosie Kay (UK), or Fabrique Autonomes des Acteurs, Bataville (F).  

Qualifications

  • 2015 Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2008 MA Choreography (with Distinction): The Glories of Endurance; from Laban Trinity College London
  • 2006 PhD Cognitive Neuroscience; Body Representation and Motor Imagery: Effects of Adaptability; University of Zurich, Supervisor Prof Fred Mast and Prof M.-C.Hepp-Reymond
  • 2004 postgraduate Diploma in Dance Culture: Effects of Media in Movement Notation, Representation and Transformation; from the University of Berne
  • 2002 Dance Teaching Diploma from IWANSON School for Contemporary Dance Munich
  • 2001 MA (Licentiate) in Psychology, Cognitive Science & Media Science, University of Zurich & Freiburg i. Br

Research Positions

  • since 2014 Lecturer at Abertay University, Dundee, UK
  • 2012-2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, INSERM and Paris 8, Paris, France
  • 2010-2012 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, UK
  • 2008-2010 Postdoctoral Researcher, AHRC funded interdisciplinary project: “Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy”, Glasgow, UK
  • 2006-2007 Research Assistant, City University, on Tactile Attention, London, UK
  • 2004-2006 Individual Research Fellowship awarded from Swiss National Science Foundation for research at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) at University College London (UCL). Guest supervisor: Prof. P. Haggard; London, UK
  • 2003-2004 PhD research. Supervisor: Prof. F. W. Mast (behavioural) and Prof Marie-Claude Hepp-Reymond at University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2002-2003 Research Assistant Science & Technology in Intellectual Property at HE at the Swiss Federal Government Berne, Switzerland
  • 2002 Research Assistant (part-time), Visual Perception and Spatial Attention Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
  • 1999-2002 Research Assistant at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH, Zurich (data Analysis and presentation of quantitative and qualitative research)
  • 1994-2001 Studies in Psychology, Cognitive Science & Media Science, University of Zurich & Freiburg i. Br.

BACKGROUND

My teaching is research informed and I highly value critical reflection and discussion in applying findings from Psychology to contemporary issues present in the 'real' world.

In 2015 I completed my Certificate for Teaching at Higher Education and followed a CPD in Teaching Dance. Since then, I aim to design modules that allow students to learn on a cognitive and on an embodied level. As part of a funded student research project, we explored the effects of the learning context (i.e., seating arrangements) with the aim to continously advance students' learning experience.

MODULES

I am teaching in the undergraduate and postgraduate programme of Psychology. This academic year (2017/2018), I am leading the module:

- PSY309: The Brain in Action: From Dance to Trance
This is a new elective module where students will learn about the human brain and behaviour in relation to dance and other creative practices. What is unusual in this module is that students will not only hear and read about theories and engage in reflection and critical discussion on existing reserach, but will also physically engage in different research practices. Embodying different disciplines will deepen students' understanding, provide them with research ideas and notably enrich their experiences of interdisciplinary research. Moreover, with a number of visiting guest lecturers, students will have the opportunity to gain insight into applied practices in neighbouring fields of Psychology which will widen their horizon for possible professional trajectories after studying.

I am also teaching on the modules:
-PSY103: Evidence based thinking
-PSY301: Biological Psychology and Individual Differences
-PSY410: Honours projects. I currently supervise 8 honours projects students in various topics from performance to emotion perception and social interaction.
-PSY510: Introduction Psychological Research Methods (Masters)
-PSY505: Personality and Individual Differences (Masters)

Previously, I have been teaching on the modules of Cognitive Psychology, Applied Psychology and Research Methods, and I led the module Individual Differences.

MEETING ME

My office hours for Winter 2017/2018 are by appointment in Psychology on level 5 on Friday's 2-3pm and on Thursday's 4-5pm.

Interests

My main research interest is in measuring cognitive and emotional processes in real life events, in particular in the performing arts; and how our understanding of expertise and social interaction in the performing arts can beneft the wider public, such as in areas of health and wellbeing.

Over the last ten 15 years, I studied cognitive and neuronal responses to watching dance and more recently in the practice of acting. I am interested in studying how we perceive and represent the body and its movements, in particular in relation to the performing arts and I am fascinated by the effects dance participation has on the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. 

Dance, for example, is an universal phenomenon with manifold functions. Studying the cognitive, neuronal, physiological, and pschosocial mechanisms in response to either watching dance or participating in dance can provide us extraordinary theoretical and applied insight into the human brain and behaviour. Understanding how dancers can remember movements, perform them easily in different directions in space, or express certain emotions and evoke them in spectators, can help us to enhance the life and well-being of people with long term physical and mental issues.   

To study the aesthetic perception of dance moves, I use behavioural experiments, qualitative research as well as brain imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnet stimulation (TMS), see for example www.watchingdance.org. Previously, I have also employed electroencephalography (EEG) to study visuospatial and tactile perception and attention.

Overall, I am intrigued by how research methods relate to their outcomes - and equally, how specific artistic practices link to artists' works. It is of no surprise that I see the future in interdisciplinary research and that my current research emphasises neuroscientific measures and subjective experiences. 

Where possible, I base my research on embodied practices, hence, I call it 'embodied neuroscience'. See also my personal homepage on www.CoCoDanse.com.

Recently, with a link to perception and physical activity, my research has further expanded in the fields of food (e.g., Cognitive and behavioural neuroscience of appetite and food choices, psychological, and sensory and physiological influences on appetite and food choices, psychology and ethnography of dietary habits and related contents).

2018

Mon Theatre

Jola, C. & Lippi, D. (2018) Mon Theatre. . . .
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Choreographed science

Jola, C. (2018) Choreographed science. In: The neurocognition of dance: mind, movement and motor skills. Bläsing, B. (ed.), Puttke, M. (ed.), Schack, T. (ed.). Second ed., Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
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Auditioning for empathy

Jola, C., Luciani, R., Schmidt, I. & Lippi, D. (2018) Auditioning for empathy. . . .
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2017

Empathy for dance audiences

Jola, C. (2017) Empathy for dance audiences. . . p. 88-89. .
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The dancing queen

Jola, C. & Calmeiro, L. (2017) The dancing queen. In: The Oxford handbook of dance and wellbeing. Karkou, V. (ed.), Oliver, S. (ed.), Lycouris, S. (ed.). p. 13-40. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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2016

Embodied aesthetics and self-perception

Jola, C. & Niitamo, V. (2016) Embodied aesthetics and self-perception. In: Proceedings IAE 2016: XXIV. Conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. Leder, H. (ed.), Forster, M. (ed.), Gerger, G. (ed.), Nadal, M. (ed.), Pelowsk, M. (ed.), Rosenberg, R. (ed.). p. 38. . International Association of Empirical Aesthetics.
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Watch this! Recent developments and future challenges

Jola, C. (2016) Watch this! Recent developments and future challenges. In: Proceedings IAE 2016: XXIV. Conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. Leder, H. (ed.), Forster, M. (ed.), Gerger, G. (ed.), Nadal, M. (ed.), Pelowski , . (ed.), Rosenberg, R. (ed.). p. 39. . International Association of Empirical Aesthetics.
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Performance, feedback, revision

Jola, C. (2016) Performance, feedback, revision. . . p. 20. .
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The magic connection

Jola, C. (2016) The magic connection. In: Zwischenleiblichkeit und bewegtes Verstehen: intercorporeity, movement and tacit knowledge. Eberlein, U. (ed.). p. 269-288. . Transcript.
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Audiences' experience of proximity and co-presence in live dance performance

Jola, C. & Reason, M. (2016) Audiences' experience of proximity and co-presence in live dance performance. In: Theatre and cognitive neuroscience. Falletti, C. (ed.), Sofia, G. (ed.), Jacono, V. (ed.). 1 ed., p. 75-92. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
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Steps towards the art of placing science in the acting practice. A performance-neuroscience perspective

Lippi, D., Jola, C., Jacono, V. & Sofia, G. (2016) Steps towards the art of placing science in the acting practice. A performance-neuroscience perspective. In: Aesthetics and neuroscience: scientific and artistic perspectives. Kapoula, Z. (ed.), Vernet, M. (ed.). 1 ed., p. 141-163. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
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Transforming the learning environment:

Niitamo, V. & Jola, C. (2016) Transforming the learning environment:. . . .
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2015

The pack size effect

Hieke, S., Palascha, A., Jola, C., Wills, J. & Raats, M. M. (2015) The pack size effect. . . p. 225-238. .
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Differences in fMRI intersubject correlation while viewing unedited and edited videos of dance performance

Herbec, A., Kauppi, J., Jola, C., Thoka, J. & Pollick, F. E. (2015) Differences in fMRI intersubject correlation while viewing unedited and edited videos of dance performance. . . p. 341-348. .
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Towards ecological validity in the research on cognitive and neural processes involved in dance appreciation

Christensen, J. F. & Jola, C. (2015) Towards ecological validity in the research on cognitive and neural processes involved in dance appreciation. In: Art, aesthetics, and the brain. Huston, J. (ed.), Nadal, M. (ed.), Mora, F. (ed.), Agnati, L. (ed.), Cela Conde, C. (ed.). p. 223-253. . Oxford University Press.
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Devising collaborative experiments in dance

Jola, C. (2015) Devising collaborative experiments in dance. . . .
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Decoding space

Brennan, C., Love, L. & Jola, C. (2015) Decoding space. . . . Abertay University.
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Neuroscience, dancers, and audiences

Jola, C. (2015) Neuroscience, dancers, and audiences. . . .
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Spectators’ aesthetic experience of sound and movement in dance performance

Reason, M., Jola, C., Kay, R., Reynolds, D., Kauppi, J., Grobras, M., Tohka, J. & Pollick, F. E. (2015) Spectators’ aesthetic experience of sound and movement in dance performance. . . p. 42-55. .
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Motor imagery training improves precision of an upper limb movement in patients with hemiparesis

Grabherr, L., Jola, C., Berra, G., Theiler, R. & Mast, F. W. (2015) Motor imagery training improves precision of an upper limb movement in patients with hemiparesis. . . p. 157-166. .
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Neuronal bases of structural coherence in contemporary dance observation

Bachrach, A., Jola, C. & Christophe, P. (2015) Neuronal bases of structural coherence in contemporary dance observation. . . p. 464-472. .
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2014

Event segmentation and biological motion perception in watching dance

Noble, K., Glowinski, D., Murphy, H., Jola, C., McAleer, P., Darshane, N., Penfield, K., Kalyanasundaram, S., Camurri, A. & Pollick, F. E. (2014) Event segmentation and biological motion perception in watching dance. . . p. 59 – 74. .
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Embodied neuroscience

Jola, C. (2014) Embodied neuroscience. . . .
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Reference amounts utilised in front of package nutrition labelling

Raats, M. M., Hieke, S., Jola, C., Hodgkins, C., Kennedy, J. & Wills, J. (2014) Reference amounts utilised in front of package nutrition labelling. . . p. 619-625. .
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Embodied neuroscience

Jola, C. (2014) Embodied neuroscience. . . .
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“Some like it hot”

Jola, C., Pollick, F. E. & Calvo-Merino, B. (2014) “Some like it hot”. . . .
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Spectators’ aesthetic experiences of sound and movement in dance performance

Reynolds, D., Reason, M. & Jola, C. (2014) Spectators’ aesthetic experiences of sound and movement in dance performance. . . .
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2013

Experience and the perception of biological motion

Pollick, F. E., Jola, C., Petrini, K., McKay, L. S., McAleer, P., Jang, S. H., MacLeod, C. & Simmons, D. R. (2013) Experience and the perception of biological motion. In: People watching: social, perceptual, and neurophysiological studies of body perception. Johnson, K. (ed.), Shiffrar, M. (ed.). p. 139-158. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Do you feel the same way too?

Jola, C. (2013) Do you feel the same way too?. In: Touching and being touched: kinesthesia and empathy in dance and movement. Brandstetter, G. (ed.), Egert, G. (ed.), Zubarik, S. (ed.). p. 181-210. . de Gruyter.
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2012

In the here and now

Jola, C. & Grosbras, M. (2012) In the here and now. . . p. 90-98. .
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Moved by stills

Jola, C., Clements, L. & Christensen, J. F. (2012) Moved by stills. . . .
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Using a novel motion index to study the neural basis of event segmentation

Pollick, F., Noble, K., Darshane, N., Murphy, H., Glowinski, D., McAleer, P., Jola, C., Penfield, K. & Camurri, A. (2012) Using a novel motion index to study the neural basis of event segmentation. . . p. 225-225. .
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Uni- and multisensory brain areas are synchronised across spectators when watching unedited dance recordings

Jola, C., McAleer, P., Grosbras, M., Love, S. A., Morison, G. & Pollick, F. E. (2012) Uni- and multisensory brain areas are synchronised across spectators when watching unedited dance recordings. . . p. 265-284. .
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The power of the presence - do you feel the same way too?

Jola, C. (2012) The power of the presence - do you feel the same way too?. . . .
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Editorial introduction & abstracts

Reynolds, D., Jola, C. & Pollick, F. E. (2012) Editorial introduction & abstracts. . . p. 260-269. .
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The experience of watching dance: phenomenological–neuroscience duets

Jola, C., Ehrenberg, S. & Reynolds, D. (2012) The experience of watching dance: phenomenological–neuroscience duets. . . p. 17–37. .
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Motor simulation without motor expertise

Jola, C., Abedian-Amiri, A., Kuppuswamy, A., Pollick, F. E. & Grosbras, M. (2012) Motor simulation without motor expertise. . . .
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Neurocognitive control in dance perception and performance

Bläsing, B., Calvo-Merino, B., Cross, E. S., Jola, C., Honisch, J. & Stevens, C. J. (2012) Neurocognitive control in dance perception and performance. . . p. 300-308. .
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2011

Proprioceptive integration and body representation: insights into dancers’ expertise

Jola, C., Davis, A. & Haggard, P. (2011) Proprioceptive integration and body representation: insights into dancers’ expertise. . . p. 257–265. .
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Injury, imagery, and self-esteem in dance

Nordin-Bates, S. M., Walker, I. J., Baker, J., Garner, J., Hardy, C., Irvine, S., Jola, C., Laws, H. & Blevins, P. (2011) Injury, imagery, and self-esteem in dance. . . p. 76-85. .
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Arousal decrease in Sleeping Beauty: audiences' neurophysiological correlates to watching a narrative dance performance of two-and-a-half hours

Jola, C., Pollick, F. E. & Grosbras, M. (2011) Arousal decrease in Sleeping Beauty: audiences' neurophysiological correlates to watching a narrative dance performance of two-and-a-half hours. . . p. 378-403. .
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2010

Dance with or without music

Jola, C., Grosbras, M., McAleer, P. . & Pollick, F. E. (2010) Dance with or without music. . . .
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Research and choreography

Jola, C. (2010) Research and choreography. In: The neurocognition of dance: mind, movement and motor skills. Bläsing, B. (ed.), Puttke, M. (ed.), Schack, T. (ed.). p. 203-234. London: Psychology Press.
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2009

Segmenting the body into parts

de Vignemont, F., Majid, A. M., Jola, C. & Haggard, P. (2009) Segmenting the body into parts. . . p. 500-512. .
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2008

Towards a sensorimotor aesthetics of performing art

Calvo-Merino, B., Jola, C., Glaser, D. & Haggard, P. (2008) Towards a sensorimotor aesthetics of performing art. . . p. 911-922. .
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2006

Imagining a new movement

Jola, C., Hepp-Reymond, M. . & Mast, F. W. (2006) Imagining a new movement. . . .
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2005

In-between notation and dance

Jola, C. & Haggard, P. (2005) In-between notation and dance. In: Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Biennial Conference. . p. 145-155. . International Council of Kinetography Laban.
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Dance images

Jola, C. & Mast, F. W. (2005) Dance images. In: Tank in Kopf: dance and cognition . Birringer, J. (ed.), Fenger, J. (ed.). p. 211-232. . LIT.
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Mental object rotation and egocentric body transformation

Jola, C. & Mast, F. W. (2005) Mental object rotation and egocentric body transformation. . . p. 217-237. .
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2004

The psychological validity of qualitative spatial reasoning in one dimension

Knauff, M., Strube, G., Jola, C., Rauh, R. & Schlieder, C. (2004) The psychological validity of qualitative spatial reasoning in one dimension. . . p. 167-188. .
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2001

Spatial reasoning

Knauff, M., Jola, C. & Strube, G. (2001) Spatial reasoning. In: Spatial information theory: foundations of geographic information science . Montello, D. (ed.). p. 447-457. . Springer Verlag.
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More Information

Funding

GRANTS AWARDED / FUNDED RESEARCH

  • 2017-2019 Carasso Fondation (France) in collaboration with Fabrique Autonomes des Acteurs (project leader) and University of Rennes € 127’550.
  • 2018 ERASMUS Research Exchange to Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience. £ 3700
  • 2013-2014 Labex Arts-H2H (France). Project leader A.Bachrach. € 43’869 (2013); total (3 years) € 157’520 (yearly re-submission required).
  • 2012 Santander fund (UK) £ 2’000.
  • 2011 Pump Priming fund (UK) University of Surrey, £ 6’000.
  • 2008 Rebekka Skelton Foundation (UK) £ 600.
  • 2004-2006 Research Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) CHF 94’800.
  • 1997-1998 German Association for Academic Exchange (DAAD) 12’000 DM.

Knowledge Exchange

REVIEW

I act as a reviewer for the following journals:
Advances in Integrative Medicine; Consciousness and Cognition; Dance Research; Development Psychology; Experimental Brain Research; Frontiers in Psychology; Frontiers in Neuroscience; Journal of Cognitive Psychology; Journal of Dance, Medicine and Science; Journal of Psychology, Creativity and the Arts; Neural Plasticity; Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences; Psychonomic Bulletin & Review; Review for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport; Scientific Reports; and Techné: Research in Philosophy & Technology.

 

PARTNERSHIPS/NETWORKS

I am the representative of Abertay University in the Dundee Dance Partnership (www.dundeedancepartnership.co.uk) and initiated the Open Dance Dundee Network (www.opendancedundee.wordpress.com) of which I am still an active member.

Outreach

Outreach

My research findings on the effects of visual expertise on motor simulation when watching dance has attracted much attention in the wider public. Numerious interviews have been published internationally (i.e. The New York Times, Radio Germany) and my research has been featured in a documentary French-Taiwanese co-production (the Taiwanese version is on youtube).

Through my work as a choreographer, my scientific research also transpires into the artistic world of dance. I enjoy very much interacting with inquiring minds from a variety of backgrounds. For more details on my artistic works see www.CoCoDanse.com

Recently, Lynn Parker and I participated in the Dundee Park Festival organised by the Scottish Dance Theatre with an interactive dance installation "Everybody Moves". 

Scientific presentations and other interviews that are freely accessible online: 

Meet the rest of the team

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Dr Christopher Watkins

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