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Dr Peter Lovatt is an author who has written books, invited articles, academic papers and blogs. He has written two books, The Dance Cure, published by Short Books, which comes out in 2020, and Dance Psychology: The Science of Dance and Dancers, which was published in 2018. He has been invited to write articles on dance by the BBC, and the Wellcome Collection and has written a collection of academic research papers on dance, memory, thinking and problem solving, improvisation, language learning, neural computation and Parkinson’s disease.
THE DANCE CURE
the surprising secret to being smarter, stronger, happier
by Peter Lovatt
Humans are born to dance. And in today’s sedentary world, we would all benefit from doing more of it. Science shows that just ten minutes of dancing provides a thorough work out for the body and brain, raising the heartbeat to cause a release of feel-ggod endorphins, connecting us to our emotions and reducing our stress levels. Dancing quite simply makes us feel more alive.
Drawing on sources from psychology, anthropology and his own extensive scientific research, dance psychologist and former professional dancer Dr Peter Lovatt explains how even the most uncoordinated person can use combinations of movement to improve their mood, feel energised, think creatively and ultimately transform their lives.
With a cha cha here and a wiggle there, Dr Lovatt reveals why dance is such a powerful tool for our brains and our bodies, and presents a unique set of steps, combos and dance routines to help us dance ourselves happy.
The Dance Cure’s publication date is set for 2nd April 2020 –
the science of dance and dancers
by Peter Lovatt
Dance Psychology is the study of dance and dancers from a scientific, psychological, perspective. This Dance Psychology textbook provides a general introduction to the Psychology of Dance and then it delves in to eleven of the most central questions concerning Dance Psychology. These are:
Are humans born to dance?
Does the way you move your body change the way you think?
Will dancing make people happier?
Can dancing put people in to a trance-like state?
Will a person’s dance confidence change across the lifespan?
Does dancing make people healthier?
Why do we enjoy watching some dance performances more than others?
How do dancers remember so many dance routines?
Why don’t dancers get dizzy?
Will dancing improve a person’s self-esteem?
How do we communicate emotions with our body?
Drawing on academic literature, this book is engaging, technical and, in places, critical; it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Dance Psychology.
The Joy of Dance – Wellcome Collection
Due December 2019 – link to follow
This is why we dance – BBC Focus Magazine
The power of dance across behaviour and thinking – Psychology Review
Rose, D., Delevoye-Turrell, Y., Ott, L., Annett, L. and Lovatt, P. (2019). Music and Metronomes Differentially Impact Motor Timing in People with and without Parkinson’s Disease: Effects of Slow, Medium, and Fast Tempi on Entrainment and Synchronization Performances in Finger Tapping, Toe Tapping, and Stepping on the Spot Tasks. Parkinson’s Disease, Article ID 6530838, 18 pages.
Rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) has successfully helped regulate gait for people with Parkinson’s disease. However, the way in which different auditory cues and types of movements affect entrainment, synchronization, and pacing stability has not been directly compared in different aged people with and without Parkinson’s. Therefore, this study compared music and metronomes (cue types) in finger tapping, toe tapping, and stepping on the spot tasks to explore the potential of RAS training for general use. Methods. Participants (aged 18–78 years) included people with Parkinson’s (n = 30, Hoehn and Yahr mean = 1.78), older (n = 26), and younger adult controls (n = 36), as age may effect motor timing. Timed motor production was assessed using an extended synchronization-continuation task in cue type and movement conditions for slow, medium, and fast tempi (81, 116, and 140 mean beats per minute, respectively). Results. Analyses revealed main effects of cue and movement type but no between-group interactions, suggesting no differences in motor timing between people with Parkinson’s and controls. Music supported entrainment better than metronomes in medium and fast tempi, and stepping on the spot enabled better entrainment and less asynchrony, as well as more stable pacing compared to tapping in medium and fast tempi. Age was not confirmed as a factor, and no differences were observed in slow tempo. Conclusion. This is the first study to directly compare how different external auditory cues and movement types affect motor timing. The music and the stepping enabled participants to maintain entrainment once the external pacing cue ceased, suggesting endogenous mechanisms continued to regulate the movements. The superior performance of stepping on the spot suggests embodied entrainment can occur during continuous movement, and this may be related to emergent timing in tempi above 600 ms. These findings can be applied therapeutically to manage and improve adaptive behaviours for people with Parkinson’s.
Lewis, Carine., Lovatt, Peter., & Kirk, Elizabeth. (2015). Many hands make light work: The facilitative role of gesture in verbal improvisation. Thinking Skills and Creativity
This paper is all about thinking, improvisation and hand-movements. The paper examines the relationship between improvisation and hand gestures. Gestures were in analysed in a within-subjects design where participants improvised and completed a control equivalent. It was found that people gestured significantly more when improvising and that different types of gesture use related to the quality of improvisation, as well as improvisation when compared to everyday speech.
Lewis, C. Annett, L., Davenport, S., Hall, A. and Lovatt, P. (2014). Mood changes following social dance sessions in people with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Health Psychology
This is first of three papers to be published on my study into the effects of dance on the symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder of Parkinson’s disease. It is notable because it is the first paper to examine the relationship between dance, mood and Parkinson’s disease. I was the academic lead for this project.
Lewis, C. & Lovatt, P. J. (2013). Breaking away from set patterns of thinking: Improvisation and divergent thinking. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 9, 46-58.
This paper describes studies examining the relationship between improvisation and thinking. As part of the same series of studies, but not reported in this paper, we found a relationship between improvised dance and problem solving. Paper to follow. This work was carried out as part of Dr. Carine Lewis’s PhD research programme, of which I was the principal supervisor.
Lovatt, P.J. (2011). Dance Confidence, age and gender. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 668-672.
This paper is based on a large data set that I collected which looked at the dance confidence of just under 14,000 people. The study is interesting because it shows, in a large sample of men and women, how dance confidence changes as a function of age and gender at interesting times across a person’s life.
Williams, J.N. & Lovatt, P.J. (2005). Phonological Memory and Rule Learning II. Language Learning, 55 (1), 177-233.
This was work I carried out at Cambridge University. The paper was originally published in 2003 but was re-published as it was considered to be of particular academic importance.
Joiner, R., Gavin, J., Duffield, J., Brosnan, M., Crook, C., Durndell, A., Maras, P., Miller, J., Scott, A.J. & Lovatt, P. (2005). Gender, Internet Identification, and Internet Anxiety: Correlates of Internet Use. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 8(4), 371-378.
Williams, J.N. & Lovatt, P.J. (2003). Phonological Memory and Rule Learning. Language Learning, 53 (1), 67-121.
Lovatt, P.J., Avons, S. E. & Masterson, J. (2002). Output decay in immediate serial recall: Speech time revisited. Journal of Memory and Language, 46 (1), 227-243.
Lovatt, P. J. & Avons, S. E. (2001). Re-evaluating the word-length effect. In (Ed.) J. Andrade Working Memory in Perspective. Psychology Press.
Lovatt, P.J., Avons, S. E. & Masterson, J. (2000). The word-length effect and disyllabic words. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 53A, 1-22.
Lovatt, P.J. (1998). Immediate Serial Recall and the word-length effect. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis. University of Essex.
Lovatt, P. J. & Bairaktaris, D. (1995). A computational account of phonologically mediated free recall. In (Eds.) L. Smith and P. Hancock. Neural Computation and Psychology. Springer Verlag.