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Title: The representation of human movement : a development and cross-cultural study
Author: da Silva, A. F. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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Research addressing the specific problem of the representation of human movement is not very wide. Where there is work on the representation of changes and transformations, this has not focused on the human figure. Rather, such studies demonstrated how young children tend to represent the initial and the end states of moving objects, whereas older children reproduce their intermediary locations as well. It was my hypothesis that dance steps, although more complex than simple everyday types of movements, are in fact more sequential, defined and easy to segment for the purpose of representation. They may offer the condition necessary, to represent the intermediary as well as the end stages of movements. Thus, my objective was to observe how children from different ages, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds master a language for representing movement, and in order to do that four experiments were carried out with 180 children aged five, seven and ten from Brazil and England. In the concrete drawing experiment, children were asked to represent two dances by drawing the human figure. In the abstract drawing experiment, children were asked to represent the same dances by making marks, line drawings or symbols. In the stroboscopic movement experiment, children were asked to reconstruct three classical ballet steps by sequencing a number of shuffled ready made drawings of a dancer performing each step. In the description of movement experiment, a child was asked to describe three ballet steps to a partner who had to identify among many drawings the one being described. Overall, older children produced more elaborate representations of movements than younger ones, however there were evidences of younger children attempting to represent transformations between initial and final stages of movements, and that may be due to the type of movement they were representing. The results also showed that different types of movements resulted in different forms of representation. Thirdly, familiarity with a dance had an effect on representation, with English children having more difficulties in identifying and representing the samba movements than Brazilians. A class effect was also present, with children from poorer backgrounds in Brazil having more difficulties in representing the movements than those from wealthier backgrounds. The dramatic contrasts that exist in Brazil of variables like family income, parents education background and quality of education may explain the difficulties encountered by working class children when trying to solve the tasks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available