Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Craig Speelman

Abstract

Working memory capacity span tasks are suggested to predict complex cognitive behaviour across varied domains (Conway et al., 2005). However, it has been criticised that expert skills are highly situational and domain specific (Marteniuk, 1974). The current research aimed to investigate whether general memory span was related to movement span, and furthermore, whether this can predict dance learning. It was expected that memory for movement would be positively correlated with measures of working memory, due to the specific components of working memory, such as the capacity of the phonological loop. Furthermore, it was expected on the basis of previous research (e.g., Starkes, Deakin, Lindley & Crisp, 1987) involving the serial position accuracy of dance items, that there would be a demonstration of serial position of movement recall that is different to the general serial position curve (Murdoch, 1962). Data was collected from 30 dancers from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Results supported the hypothesis that memory for dance movement would be positively correlated with general measures of memory span and that only primacy effects would be observed in the serial recall of dance movement. Consequently, it was proposed that verbal span measures may be able to predict something about the nature of an expert dancers ability to recall new dance steps due to an enhanced rehearsal mechanism. It is suggested that further research is required to investigate the complexity of the working memory theory in relation to movement memory to provide a better understanding of memory and learning processes.

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