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Article

There is intense contemporary public as well as professional psychological interest in bodily movement, gesture, and the subjective experience of movement. This has a background in knowledge that movements and the sensing of movements alike express the life of the whole person, whether in the arts, sports, and the pursuit of well-being, or in physiotherapies and psychotherapies of many kinds. The background of the numerous and varied areas of scientific research that contribute to this area has a long history in philosophy and cultural practices as well as in relations between different psychological and physiological topics. The significance of the sense of self-movement, kinesthesia, as opposed to the perception of moving objects, has not until recently been a central focus for research. To explain rising contemporary interest it is necessary to elucidate the usage of current terms—kinesthesia, proprioception, and haptic sense. This in turn leads to discussion of the historical background to modern research on kinesthesia and motor imagery, on phenomenology and sensed movement, on practice centered on kinesthetic appreciation, and on agency. All this is part of the field of inquiry into the psychology of performing and of appreciating dance.

Article

Karen Z. H. Li, Halina Bruce, and Rachel Downey

Research on the interplay of cognition and mobility in old age is inherently multidisciplinary, informed by findings from life span developmental psychology, kinesiology, cognitive neuroscience, and rehabilitation sciences. Early observational work revealed strong connections between sensory and sensorimotor performance with measures of intellectual functioning. Subsequent work has revealed more specific links between measures of cognitive control and gait quality. Convergent evidence for the interdependence of cognition and mobility is seen in patient studies, wherein cognitive impairment is associated with increased frequency and risk of falling. Even in cross-sectional studies involving healthy young and older adults, the effects of aging on postural control and gait are commonly exacerbated when participants perform a motor task with a concurrent cognitive load. This motor-cognitive dual-task method assumes that cognitive and motor domains compete for common capacity, and that older adults recruit more cognitive capacity than young adults to support gait and posture. Neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have revealed associations between measures of mobility (e.g., gait velocity and postural control) and measures of brain health (e.g., gray matter volumes, cortical thickness, white matter integrity, and functional connectivity). The brain regions most often associated with aging and mobility also appear to subserve high-level cognitive functions such as executive control, attention, and working memory (e.g., dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate). Portable functional neuroimaging has allowed for the examination of neural functioning during real-time walking, often in conjunction with detailed spatiotemporal measures of gait. A more recent strategy that addresses the interdependence of cognitive and motor processes in old age is cognitive remediation. Cognitive training has yielded promising improvements in balance, walking, and overall mobility status in healthy older adults, and those with age-related neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Article

Eli Brenner and Jeroen B. J. Smeets

The way we see the world seems perfect, but it is not. What we see at any moment is based on a very limited part of the information that is available to us, and even details of that part are not always judged correctly. Moreover, perception is often inconsistent. There are persistent idiosyncratic discrepancies between visual and haptic spatial judgments. Even within the visual modality, related attributes such as size and position can be judged in a manner that is inconsistent with the physical relationship between them. People deal with all these differences and inconsistencies by selecting the best attributes to rely on for the task at hand and updating the information whenever possible. Doing so is presumably responsible for people’s proficiency in interacting with their environment, even when faced with the constantly changing spatial relationships with objects in the environment that result from using tools or that arise from the observer or the object moving. The best information to use depends not only on the goal of the action but also on how quickly and how reliably information can be acquired. This makes it complicated to make general claims about spatial vision for action, but it also provides unique opportunities to determine which attributes are used to guide our actions and evaluate why. Such opportunities can be used to identify the attributes that are used to perform a task, for instance revealing that judgments of position rather than size are used to determine how far to open one’s grip when grasping an object. They can also be used to determine how information guides ongoing movements, showing that judgments of position are continuously updated rather than inferred from judged motion. It is evident that we still have a lot to learn about how spatial vision guides action.

Article

Peter Pfordresher

Music performance involves precise motor control that is coordinated with higher order planning to convey complex structural information. In addition, music performance usually involves motor tasks that are not learned spontaneously (as in the use of the vocal apparatus), the reproduction of preestablished sequences (notated or from memory), and synchronized joint performance with one or more other musicians. Music performance also relies on a rich repertoire of musical knowledge that can be used for purposes of expressive variation and improvisation. As such, the study of music performance provides a way to explore learning, motor control, memory, and interpersonal coordination in the context of a real-world behavior. Music performance skills vary considerably in the population and reflect interactions between genetic predispositions and the effect of intensive practice. At the same time, research suggests that most individuals have the capacity to perform music through singing or learning an instrument, and in this sense music performance taps into a universal human propensity for communication and coordination with conspecifics.