British Journal of Psychology

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Volume 86 Issue 2 (May 1995), Pages 161-319

Representation and performance: Reproduction of form and quality of movement in dance by eight‐ and 11‐year‐old novices (pages 217-225)

This study examined the effects of age on the cognitive representations in modelling. A total of 48 eight‐ and 11‐year‐olds were asked to watch a dancer performing a ballet sequence of three steps in order to reproduce it. They were able to see the film as many times as they wanted. All subjects were novices to dance. Both quantitative (number of observations required to learn the sequence, number of steps executed) and qualitative (form and quality of the performance) factors were assessed. The results indicated an effect of age on the number of requested observations and on the number of subjects able to perform the entire movement series. The mean form scores did not differ significantly between the two groups, but the mean quality score was higher for the 11‐year‐olds. We also noted a great heterogeneity in the performances. The results are discussed in terms of the role of cognitive and motor factors in observational learning by age and of the possibilities that cognitive representations offer for coding the different properties of movement.

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