A Preliminary Study on the Role of Movement Imagery in Spatial Perception

  • Margaret R. Tarampi
  • Michael N. Geuss
  • Jeanine K. Stefanucci
  • Sarah H. Creem-Regehr
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8684)


According to dance theory, dancers are uniquely aware of the relationship between the environment and their body, making them a type of spatial expert. Inherent in their practice are the abilities to assess the location of other people, objects and the environment relative to their body, and to use movement imagery. The current study tests if dancers perceive the world differently than non-dancers. To test this, dancers performed a battery of spatial tasks (egocentric and exocentric distance estimates, a height judgment, and affordance judgments, i.e., perceived vertical and horizontal passability, stepability, and jumpability) and completed paper-and-pencil spatial ability tests. Dancers differed from non-dancers in their movement imagery ability but superior imagery ability did not result in greater accuracy in imagined distance estimates. Height judgments were overestimated in both groups but less so in dancers. Dancers were found to be, on average, less conservative in their affordance judgments than non-dancers.


affordances distance perception spatial ability dance individual differences spatial expertise 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret R. Tarampi
    • 1
  • Michael N. Geuss
    • 2
  • Jeanine K. Stefanucci
    • 2
  • Sarah H. Creem-Regehr
    • 2
  1. 1.Sage Center for the Study of the MindUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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