Special Issue "Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance"

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 November 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Sabine C. Koch

Department of Creative Arts Therapies and Therapy Sciences, Alanus University, Villestr. 3, 53347 Alfter/Bonn, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: embodiment; rhythms; resonance; arts therapies; aesthetic experience; body psychotherapy; dance movement therapy; therapeutic factors
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Thomas Fuchs

Department of General Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg, Vossstr. 2-4, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: phenomenological psychopathology, psychology and psychotherapy; embodiment; enactivism; phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience
Guest Editor
Ms. Lily Martin

RIArT – Research Institute for Creative Arts Therapies, Department of Creative Arts Therapies and Therapy Sciences, Alanus University, Villestr. 3, 53347 Alfter/Bonn, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: embodiment; effects of arts interventions on health-related outcomes (specifically aesthetic distancing and goal-directed group processes), effects of flow, as well as the promotion and integration of arts therapies in the health system
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Tschacher

University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Bolligenstrasse 111, 3060 Bern, Switzerland
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: self-organization; embodiment; dynamic systems; psychotherapeutic change mechanisms; time-series analysis; nonverbal synchrony; mind-matter relations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This is a call for submissions for a Special Issue on “Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance” that we are currently editing. The Special Issue will encompass articles from phenomenology, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, systems theory, psychology, psychiatry, arts therapies, and the arts.

Embodiment has become a major area of interest in many academic fields (e.g., phenomenology and cognitive sciences). Recently, this development has been extended to issues of aesthetic perception and performance: On the one hand, people bodily resonate with aesthetic objects when appreciating art; on the other hand, in art-making, people may experience self-efficacy, self-congruence, and express their aesthetic feelings by means of the resonant body.

This special issue on Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance will accompany the 19th Herbstakademie (http://www.upd.unibe.ch/research/symposien/HA19/index.html), 5–7 October, 2017, at the University of Heidelberg, and will focus on questions such as:

  • How can an embodied aesthetics be conceptualized?
  • What is the role of the body in aesthetic perception and creativity, particularly concerning the experience of beauty?
  • How can we understand personal and interpersonal patters of resonance and synchrony with persons and objects?
  • Which novel perspectives can the embodiment approach offer to psychotherapy, creative arts therapies, and the arts? How can clinicians incorporate principles of embodiment into their work? What role does the experience and embodiment of beauty play for health?

We expect your proposals (abstracts of up to 450 words) by 30 June 2017 and your articles by 15 September 2017. Please send the adstracts and articles to Prof. Dr. Sabine C. Koch ([email protected]) or Behavioral Sciences Editorial Office ([email protected]).

Prof. Dr. Sabine Koch
Ms. Lily Martin, MSc.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Fuchs
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Tschacher
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 650 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • embodiment
  • synergetics
  • phenomenology
  • aesthetics
  • rhythms
  • resonance
  • synchrony
  • self-organization
  • dynamic systems
  • interpersonal patterns
  • psychotherapy
  • arts therapies
  • body psychotherapy
  • integrative body-mind approaches

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effects of Dance Movement Therapy on Adult Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8070061
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 29 June 2018
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Abstract
This study examines the effects of dance movement therapy (DMT) on empathy for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). DMT based on the embodiment approach offers body-centered interventions, such as mirroring techniques, to address the needs of ASD patients. Accordingly, findings of a
[...] Read more.
This study examines the effects of dance movement therapy (DMT) on empathy for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). DMT based on the embodiment approach offers body-centered interventions, such as mirroring techniques, to address the needs of ASD patients. Accordingly, findings of a feasibility study suggest that DMT may be an effective approach for clients on the ASD spectrum. The present study is a randomized controlled trial that was conducted as a multicenter study within the framework of the EU-funded research project TESIS (Toward an Embodied Science of Intersubjectivity), and employed a two-factorial between-subject design. The treatment group (n = 35) participated in a 10-week manualized DMT intervention, whereas the control group (n = 22) received treatment only after a waiting period. Empathy, measured with the Cognitive and Emotional Empathy Questionnaire (CEEQ), was the main variable of interest, analyzed by a repeated measures analysis of variance. In order to also include incomplete data cases, we used the expectation-maximization algorithm for missing data estimation. Results suggest no significant changes in overall empathy between groups. We discuss the results and limitations, as well as future research options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
Open AccessArticle Sources of Embodied Creativity: Interactivity and Ideation in Contact Improvisation
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8060052
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
Drawing on a micro-phenomenological paradigm, we discuss Contact Improvisation (CI), where dancers explore potentials of intercorporeal weight sharing, kinesthesia, touch, and momentum. Our aim is to typologically discuss creativity related skills and the rich spectrum of creative resources CI dancers use. This spectrum
[...] Read more.
Drawing on a micro-phenomenological paradigm, we discuss Contact Improvisation (CI), where dancers explore potentials of intercorporeal weight sharing, kinesthesia, touch, and momentum. Our aim is to typologically discuss creativity related skills and the rich spectrum of creative resources CI dancers use. This spectrum begins with relatively idea-driven creation and ends with interactivity-centered, fully emergent creation: (1) Ideation internal to the mind, the focus of traditional creativity research, is either restricted to semi-independent dancing or remains schematic and thus open to dynamic specification under the partner’s influence. (2) Most frequently, CI creativity occurs in tightly coupled behavior and is radically emergent. This means that interpersonal synergies emerge without anybody’s prior design or planned coordination. The creative feat is interpersonally “distributed” over cascades of cross-scaffolding. Our micro-genetic data validate notions from dynamic systems theory such as interpersonal self-organization, although we criticize the theory for failing to explain where precisely this leaves skilled intentionality on the individuals’ part. Our answer is that dancers produce a stream of momentary micro-intentions that say “yes, and”, or “no, but” to short-lived micro-affordances, which allows both individuals to skillfully continue, elaborate, tweak, or redirect the collective movement dynamics. Both dancers can invite emergence as part of their playful exploration, while simultaneously bringing to bear global constraints, such as dance scores, and guide the collective dynamics with a set of specialized skills we shall term emergence management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessArticle The Aesthetic Turn in Mental Health: Reflections on an Explorative Study into Practices in the Arts Therapies
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8040041
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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Abstract
The paper will draw on materials from arts therapies literature and comments from experts’ panels to discuss some specific characteristics of the arts therapies and to investigate the role of aesthetic engagement for resilience and mental well-being. The arts increasingly find their way
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The paper will draw on materials from arts therapies literature and comments from experts’ panels to discuss some specific characteristics of the arts therapies and to investigate the role of aesthetic engagement for resilience and mental well-being. The arts increasingly find their way as interventions in mental health domains. However, explorations into the specific mechanisms that underpin the therapeutic effect of arts-based activities are still scarce. Qualitative data were collected from a thematic literature review and expert comments on meaningful working procedures in arts therapies. Analysis of multiple data sources revealed core themes and core procedures that occur across arts therapy modalities. This paper presents a practice informed model of arts-based methods in mental health that may serve as a conceptual frame of reference for arts therapists and as study material on the applicability of arts therapy interventions for specific mental health settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Humans’ Relationship to Flowers as an Example of the Multiple Components of Embodied Aesthetics
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8030032
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper phenomenologically and qualitatively explores the relationship between humans and flowers as a relationship that throws light on the synergetic dynamics of embodied aesthetics. Its methods include qualitative description and thematic analyses of preferred flower types, as well as concept maps of
[...] Read more.
This paper phenomenologically and qualitatively explores the relationship between humans and flowers as a relationship that throws light on the synergetic dynamics of embodied aesthetics. Its methods include qualitative description and thematic analyses of preferred flower types, as well as concept maps of the general term ‘flower’ by 120 students in Israel. The results revealed the interactive perceptual-compositional elements, as well as embodied, relational, and socially embedded elements of the aesthetic pleasure associated with flowers. Implications of this case study are generalized to understand the multiple and interactive components of embodied aesthetic experiences as a deep source of pleasure through interactive stimulation by and connection to the natural world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Embodied Cognition and the Direct Induction of Affect as a Compliment to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8030029
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
We make the case for the possible integration of affect experience induced via embodiment techniques with CBT for the treatment of emotional disorders in clinical settings. Theoretically we propose a possible integration of cognitive behavioural theory, neuroscience, embodied cognition and important processes of
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We make the case for the possible integration of affect experience induced via embodiment techniques with CBT for the treatment of emotional disorders in clinical settings. Theoretically we propose a possible integration of cognitive behavioural theory, neuroscience, embodied cognition and important processes of client change outcomes such as the therapeutic alliance to enhance client outcomes. We draw from evidence of bidirectional effects between embodiment modes of bottom-up (sensory-motor simulations giving rise to important basis of knowledge) and top-down (abstract mental representations of knowledge) processes such as CBT in psychotherapy. The paper first describes the dominance and success of CBT for the treatment of a wide range of clinical disorders. Some limitations of CBT, particularly for depression are also outlined. There is a growing body of evidence for the added value of experiential affect-focused interventions combined with CBT. Evidence for the embodied model of cognition and emotion is reviewed. Advantages of embodiment is highlighted as a complimentary process model to deepen the intensity and valence of affective experience. It is suggested that an integrated embodiment approach with CBT enhances outcomes across a wide range of emotional disorders. A description of our embodiment method integrated with CBT for inducing affective experience, emotional regulation, acceptance of unwanted emotions and emotional mastery is given. Finally, the paper highlights the importance of the therapeutic alliance as a critical component of the change process. The paper ends with a case study highlighting some clinical strategies that may aid the therapist to integrate embodiment techniques in CBT that can further explore in future research on affective experience in CBT for a wider range of clinical disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Effect of Active Creation on Psychological Health: A Feasibility Study on (Therapeutic) Mechanisms
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020025
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
Creation is an important part of many interventions in creative arts therapies (art, music, dance, and drama therapy). This active part of art-making in arts therapies has not yet been closely investigated. The present study commits to this field of research using a
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Creation is an important part of many interventions in creative arts therapies (art, music, dance, and drama therapy). This active part of art-making in arts therapies has not yet been closely investigated. The present study commits to this field of research using a mixed-methods design to investigate the effects of active creation on health-related psychological outcomes. In an artistic inquiry within an experimental design, N = 44 participants engaged in active art-making for eight minutes in the presence of the researcher (first author) with a choice of artistic materials: paper and colors for drawing and writing, musical instruments, space for moving or performing. Before and after the creation, participants completed a well-being, a self-efficacy and an experience of creation scale, and in addition found their own words to express the experiences during the activity. We hypothesized that the experience of empowerment, freedom, impact, and creativity (Experience of Creation Scale) mediates the positive effect of active creation on the outcomes of self-efficacy and well-being, and evaluated this assumption with a mediation analysis. Results suggest that the effect of active creation on both self-efficacy and well-being is significantly mediated by the Experience of Creation Scale. This article focuses on the quantitative side of the investigation. During the process, qualitative and quantitative results were triangulated for a more valid evaluation and jointly contribute to the emerging theory frame of embodied aesthetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Synchronization, Attention and Transformation: Multidimensional Exploration of the Aesthetic Experience of Contemporary Dance Spectators
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020024
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
The co-presence of bodies in intersubjective situations can give rise to processes of kinesthetic empathy and physiological synchronization, especially in the context of dance: the body and attention of the spectators are oriented towards the dancers. In this study, we investigate the processes
[...] Read more.
The co-presence of bodies in intersubjective situations can give rise to processes of kinesthetic empathy and physiological synchronization, especially in the context of dance: the body and attention of the spectators are oriented towards the dancers. In this study, we investigate the processes of “body-mind” resonance between a choreography and its spectators, and more specifically the lasting impact of this resonance post-performance. We then explore the relation between the observed effects and subjective measures of attention. The study focuses on the work of the French choreographer Myriam Gourfink, who develops a unique movement, based on the slower breathing of dancers: the breathing generates an extremely slow movement without rhythmic ruptures. Phenomenological studies of her work report changes in temporal perception and changes in bodily attentional states. We made use of two cognitive tasks in order to quantify this change in temporal perception: Spontaneous Motor Tempo (SMT) and Apparent Motion effect (AM) before and after a 40-min live performance. Subjective reports were collected at the end of the performance. Physiological data were recorded before and after the performance. We performed a control experiment with a choreography of a distinctly different quality of movement. Post-Gourfink performance, we observed a significant deceleration of SMT and a decrease in its variability, while AM was reported with longer temporal intervals. Neither of these effects was observed in the control condition. Furthermore, an increase in perception of AM was correlated with a slower breathing rate after the performance. Correlations with subjective reports suggest a link between changes in cognitive and physiological dynamics and the degree of absorption of the spectators in the performance. In addition, these changes were related to specific reported attentional dispositions that we interpret as a form of attentional resonance. The ensemble of the results suggests an expansion of the “specious present” that is related to the slowing of physiological rhythms, and an attentional resonance between spectators and the choreography. The intricate relation we observed between inter-personal resonance and temporal cognition, foregrounds the notion of shared present as a neurophenomenological construct. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Coordinated Interpersonal Behaviour in Collective Dance Improvisation: The Aesthetics of Kinaesthetic Togetherness
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020023
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
Collective dance improvisation (e.g., traditional and social dancing, contact improvisation) is a participatory, relational and embodied art form which eschews standard concepts in aesthetics. We present our ongoing research into the mechanisms underlying the lived experience of “togetherness” associated with such practices. Togetherness
[...] Read more.
Collective dance improvisation (e.g., traditional and social dancing, contact improvisation) is a participatory, relational and embodied art form which eschews standard concepts in aesthetics. We present our ongoing research into the mechanisms underlying the lived experience of “togetherness” associated with such practices. Togetherness in collective dance improvisation is kinaesthetic (based on movement and its perception), and so can be simultaneously addressed from the perspective of the performers and the spectators, and be measured. We utilise these multiple levels of description: the first-person, phenomenological level of personal experiences, the third-person description of brain and body activity, and the level of interpersonal dynamics. Here, we describe two of our protocols: a four-person mirror game and a ‘rhythm battle’ dance improvisation score. Using an interpersonal closeness measure after the practice, we correlate subjective sense of individual/group connectedness and observed levels of in-group temporal synchronization. We propose that kinaesthetic togetherness, or interpersonal resonance, is integral to the aesthetic pleasure of the participants and spectators, and that embodied feeling of togetherness might play a role more generally in aesthetic experience in the performing arts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sensitivity to Social Contingency in Adults with High-Functioning Autism during Computer-Mediated Embodied Interaction
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020022
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be understood as a social interaction disorder. This makes the emerging “second-person approach” to social cognition a more promising framework for studying ASD than classical approaches focusing on mindreading capacities in detached, observer-based arrangements. According to the second-person
[...] Read more.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be understood as a social interaction disorder. This makes the emerging “second-person approach” to social cognition a more promising framework for studying ASD than classical approaches focusing on mindreading capacities in detached, observer-based arrangements. According to the second-person approach, embodied, perceptual, and embedded or interactive capabilities are also required for understanding others, and these are hypothesized to be compromised in ASD. We therefore recorded the dynamics of real-time sensorimotor interaction in pairs of control participants and participants with High-Functioning Autism (HFA), using the minimalistic human-computer interface paradigm known as “perceptual crossing” (PC). We investigated whether HFA is associated with impaired detection of social contingency, i.e., a reduced sensitivity to the other’s responsiveness to one’s own behavior. Surprisingly, our analysis reveals that, at least under the conditions of this highly simplified, computer-mediated, embodied form of social interaction, people with HFA perform equally well as controls. This finding supports the increasing use of virtual reality interfaces for helping people with ASD to better compensate for their social disabilities. Further dynamical analyses are necessary for a better understanding of the mechanisms that are leading to the somewhat surprising results here obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessArticle Psychology of the Embrace: How Body Rhythms Communicate the Need to Indulge or Separate
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7040080
Received: 26 August 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 19 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
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Abstract
In the context of embodiment research, there has been a growing interest in phenomena of interpersonal resonance. Given that haptic communication is particularly under-researched, we focused on the phenomenon of embracing. When we embrace a dear friend to say good-bye at the end
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In the context of embodiment research, there has been a growing interest in phenomena of interpersonal resonance. Given that haptic communication is particularly under-researched, we focused on the phenomenon of embracing. When we embrace a dear friend to say good-bye at the end of a great evening, we typically first employ smooth and yielding movements with round transitions between muscular tensing and relaxing (smooth, indulging rhythms), and when the embrace is getting too long, we start to use slight patting (sharp, fighting rhythms with sharp transitions) on the back or the shoulders of the partner in order to indicate that we now want to end the embrace. On the ground of interpersonal resonance, most persons (per-sonare, latin = to sound through) understand these implicit nonverbal signals, expressed in haptic tension-flow changes, and will react accordingly. To experimentally test the hypothesis that smooth, indulgent rhythms signal the wish to continue, and sharp, fighting rhythms signal the wish to separate from an embrace, we randomly assigned 64 participants, all students at the University of Heidelberg, to two differently sequenced embrace conditions: (a) with the fighting rhythm at the end of the sequence of two indulgent rhythms (Sequence A: smooth-smooth-sharp); and (b) with the fighting rhythm between two indulgent rhythms (Sequence B: smooth-sharp-smooth). Participants were embraced for 30 s by a female confe­derate with their eyes blindfolded to focus on haptic and kinesthetic cues without being distracted by visual cues. They were instructed to let go of a handkerchief that they held between the fingers of their dominant hand during the embrace, when they felt that the embracer signaled the wish to finish the embrace. Participants significantly more often dropped the handkerchief in the phase of the fighting rhythm, no matter in which location it occurred in the embrace sequence. We assume that we learn such rhythmic behaviors and their meaning from the beginning of life in the communication with caregivers and meaningful others. Some are universal and some are quite idiosyncratic. Infants seem to be highly sensitive to the dynamic nuances presented to them, demonstrating a high capacity for embodied resonance and a high behavioral plasticity. Such adaptive mechanisms are assumed to lay the foundations of family culture (including the degree to which nonverbal cues are attended to, the communication of taboos, etc.) and larger culture, and may also play an important role in interpersonal attraction and aesthetic experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Clinic Design as Placebo—Using Design to Promote Healing and Support Treatments
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7040077
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 1 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Analogously to the medical placebo effect, people seem to anticipate the quality of treatments based on external stimuli. In order to gain insights on the effect the built environment can have on a person’s judgments and behavior with a particular focus on health
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Analogously to the medical placebo effect, people seem to anticipate the quality of treatments based on external stimuli. In order to gain insights on the effect the built environment can have on a person’s judgments and behavior with a particular focus on health related issues, a quantitative survey (N = 851) with four groups before and after the renovation of a rehabilitation clinic has been conducted. In line with an overall modernization of the clinic, the entrance, the lobby, and some patient rooms have been changed. In the lobby, a service counter and coffee bar have been added as well as light colors and new flooring material to achieve a more modern and clean atmosphere in the sense of aesthetical appearance of the space. The outcome revealed that patients rate the intention to change their health behavior as well as the quality of food or significantly higher in a modernized clinic. These differences cannot be directly attributed solely to the changes in the building. Analogously to the medical placebo, an effect referred to as design placebo effect is, therefore, proposed to explain improved ratings of aspects that have not directly been changed due to the intervention. Other significant effects are attributable to winter and summer climate. During summer time, ratings for waiting area, atmosphere, patient rooms, as well as for staff were significantly higher. It is, therefore, assumed that aesthetic attributes, such as architectural design, or friendliness of the weather, exert their effects as perceptual placebos that directly influence judgment outcomes and behavioral intentions. Further research is needed to match certain design and general environmental features to their effects on patients and investigate their effect strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Aesthetic Diagnosis in Gestalt Therapy
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7040070
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
The diagnostic process in psychotherapy using the aesthetic evaluation is described in this article. Unlike the classical diagnostic process, which presents a result of comparing clinicians´ observations with a diagnostic system (DSM, ICD, etc.), the aesthetic evaluation is a pre-reflexive, embodied, and preverbal
[...] Read more.
The diagnostic process in psychotherapy using the aesthetic evaluation is described in this article. Unlike the classical diagnostic process, which presents a result of comparing clinicians´ observations with a diagnostic system (DSM, ICD, etc.), the aesthetic evaluation is a pre-reflexive, embodied, and preverbal process. A Gestalt Therapy theoretical frame is used to introduce a concept of the aesthetic diagnostic process. During this process, the clinicians use their own here-and-now presence, which takes part in the co-creation of the shared relational field during the therapeutic session. A specific procedure of the aesthetic evaluation is introduced. The clinical work with depressed clients is presented to illustrate this perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Creative Arts Therapies as Temporary Home for Refugees: Insights from Literature and Practice
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7040069
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
One of the frequently overlooked psychosocial problems of refugees is the phenomenon of homesickness. Being forced into exile and unable to return home may cause natural feelings of nostalgia but may also result in emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physical adversities. According to the
[...] Read more.
One of the frequently overlooked psychosocial problems of refugees is the phenomenon of homesickness. Being forced into exile and unable to return home may cause natural feelings of nostalgia but may also result in emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physical adversities. According to the literature, the creative arts therapies with their attention to preverbal language—music, imagery, dance, role play, and movement—are able to reach individuals through the senses and promote successive integration, which can lead to transformation and therapeutic change. These forms of therapy can be a temporary home for refugees in the acculturation process, by serving as a safe and enactive transitional space. More specifically, working with dance and movement can foster the experience of the body as a home and thus provide a safe starting place, from which to regulate arousal, increase interoception, and symbolize trauma- and resource-related processes. Hearing, playing, and singing music from the home culture may assist individuals in maintaining their cultural and personal individuality. Creating drawings, paintings, or sculpturing around the topics of houses and environments from the past can help refugees to retain their identity through art, creating safe spaces for the future helps to look ahead, retain resources, and regain control. This article provides a literature review related to home and homesickness, and the role the arts therapies can play for refugees in transition. It further reports selected interview data on adverse life events and burdens in the host country from a German study. We propose that the creative arts therapies are not only a container that offers a temporary home, but can also serve as a bridge that gently guides refugees to a stepwise integration in the host country. Several clinical and research examples are presented suggesting that the support and affirmation through the creative arts can strengthen individuals in their process of moving from an old to a new environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle What Can Synergetics Contribute to Embodied Aesthetics?
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7030061
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 22 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 2 September 2017
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Abstract
I deal with perception and action (e.g., movements) using results from synergetics, a comprehensive mathematical theory of the self-organized formation (emergence) of spatial, temporal, or functional structures in complex systems. I illustrate basic concepts such as order parameters (OPs), enslavement, complexity reduction, circular
[...] Read more.
I deal with perception and action (e.g., movements) using results from synergetics, a comprehensive mathematical theory of the self-organized formation (emergence) of spatial, temporal, or functional structures in complex systems. I illustrate basic concepts such as order parameters (OPs), enslavement, complexity reduction, circular causality first by examples of well-known collective, spontaneous modes of human behavior such as rhythmic clapping of hands, and so forth, and then by face recognition. The role played by OPs depends on context. In the case of face (or pattern) recognition an OP represents the concept of an individual face (action of mind) and it enslaves the action (firing rates) of neurons (body). This insight allows me to interpret syndromes as order parameters playing their mind/body double role. I present criteria for the identification of OPs and discuss their general properties including error correction and remedy of deficiencies. Contact is made with a recent paper by Sabine Koch on embodied aesthetics. My approach includes the saturation of attention at various time scales (ambiguous figures/fashion). Adopting a psychological perspective, I discuss some ingredients of beauty such as proportionality and symmetry, but also the importance of irregularities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020028
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 22 February 2018
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Abstract
Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. In Germany, stress-induced work absenteeism costs about 20 billion Euros per year. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Central Federal
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Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. In Germany, stress-induced work absenteeism costs about 20 billion Euros per year. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Central Federal Association of the public Health Insurance Funds in Germany ascribes particular importance to stress prevention and stress management as well as health enhancing measures. Building on current integrative and embodied stress theories, Creative Arts Therapies (CATs) or arts interventions are an innovative way to prevent stress and improve stress management. CATs encompass art, music, dance/movement, and drama therapy as their four major modalities. In order to obtain an overview of CATs and arts interventions’ efficacy in the context of stress reduction and management, we conducted a systematic review with a search in the following data bases: Academic Search Complete, ERIC, Medline, Psyndex, PsycINFO and SocINDEX. Studies were included employing the PICOS principle and rated according to their evidence level. We included 37 studies, 73% of which were randomized controlled trials. 81.1% of the included studies reported a significant reduction of stress in the participants due to interventions of one of the four arts modalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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Open AccessOpinion Dancing with Gravity—Why the Sense of Balance Is (the) Fundamental
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8010007
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 5 January 2018
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Abstract
The sense of balance, which is usually barely noticeable in the background of each of our movements, only becomes manifest in its function during intense stimulation or in the event of illness, which may quite literally turn your world upside down. While it
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The sense of balance, which is usually barely noticeable in the background of each of our movements, only becomes manifest in its function during intense stimulation or in the event of illness, which may quite literally turn your world upside down. While it is true that balance is becoming a bigger issue, that is mainly because people are losing it more frequently. So why is balance not as commonly talked about in psychology, medicine or the arts as the other five traditional senses? This is partly due to its unusual multi-modal nature, whereby three sensory inputs are coordinated and integrated by the central nervous system. Without it, however, we might not have much use for the other senses. The sense of balance encompasses the bodily experience in its entirety. Not only do we act with the body, we may also think and feel through it and with it. Bodily states are not simply effects of cognition; they cause it as well. Equilibrioception is an essential sense and it is interconnected with a wide range of other areas, including cognition, perception, embodiment, the autonomic nervous system, aesthetics, the arts, and education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embodied Aesthetics and Interpersonal Resonance)
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