Timing is everything: Aesthetic perception of movement kinematics in dance.

Orlandi, Andrea; Cross, Emily S. and Orgs, Guido. 2019. Timing is everything: Aesthetic perception of movement kinematics in dance. Cognition, ISSN 0010-0277 [Article] (Submitted)

No full text available

Abstract or Description

What constitutes a beautiful action? Research into dance aesthetics has largely focussed on subjective features like familiarity with the observed movement but has rarely studied objective features like speed or acceleration. We manipulated the kinematic complexity of observed actions, by creating dance sequences that varied in movement timing, but not in movement trajectory. Dance-naïve participants rated the dance videos on speed, effort, reproducibility, and preference. Using linear mixed-effects modeling, we show that faster movement sequences with varied velocity profiles are judged to be more effortful, less reproducible, and more aesthetically pleasing than slower sequences with uniform velocity profiles. Accordingly, dance aesthetics depend not only on which movement is being performed but on how movements are executed and linked. Accordingly, the aesthetics of movement timing may apply across culturally-specific dance styles and predict both preference for and perceived difficulty of dance, consistent with an effort heuristic account of art appreciation.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:



5 December 2019Submitted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

07 Jan 2020 16:03

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2020 16:03



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)