How cultural influences predict the movement repertoire and movement improvisation: A qualitative movement analysis of German and Japanese student-athletes

Publication: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution - Published abstract for conference with selection processResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Learning processes (e.g., learning complex movement pattern) take place in social contexts, which are always culturally situated (Nasir, Rosebery, Warren, & Lee, 2014). In particular, several studies point to cultural differences between East and West (Dubina & Ramos, 2016; Sawyer, 2012) including considerations of the underlying cultural understanding (e.g., individualism or collectivism). The current study investigated how cultural roots influence the movement repertoire in standardized movement sequences as well as creative processes in movement improvisations. This approach is necessary since recent studies highlight the human body as an essential resource for these cultural situated learning processes (Abrahamson & Lindgren, 2014; Cappuccio, 2015; Kontra, GoldinMeadow, & Beilock, 2012). Furthermore, movement execution was analyzed during several movement improvisations regarding the movement repertoire (movement spectrum) and movement creativity, elaborating on the concept of creativity as “fluid thought” in analogy to fluid movement execution (Slepian & Ambady, 2012). Methods: 120 student-athletes (n=60 Japanese; n=60 German) were video recorded while performing a 10-minute two-part movement test (BAST©, Lausberg, 1998), which comprises standardized tasks and improvisation tasks. The participants’ movement performance was analyzed independently by two certified raters using the video annotation software ELAN (Slöetjes, 2013). Movement data were matched in terms of age, BMI and dance experience. Results: A complete linkage cluster analysis revealed three clusters which are distinguishing the groups solely based on various aspects of the movement execution qualities. Cluster 1 comprised of Japanese student-athletes only, with mostly stationary, isolated and bound movements. These movement combinations representing a highly controlled movement behavior. Cluster 2 was formed out of Japanese and German, and Cluster 3 was comprised of German student-athletes with movements of maximum strength and accelerated movement execution. Indicating two mostly opposite movement approaches in student-athletes between Cluster 1 and 3. Discussion: The findings were discussed in the perspective of cultural differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures and in regards to the underlying manifestations of each movement cluster. Furthermore, implications which enable enhanced learning outcomes in different cultural settings were derived from the movement data as well as the challenges in working with groups of individualistic or collectivistic backgrounds were discussed. Conclusion: Cultural background significantly predicts differences in movement behavior between Japanese and German student-athletes. The observed movement behaviors provide information that is highly relevant for pedagogical interventions as well as intercultural dance and sport-related collaborations.
Translated title of the contributionWie kulturelle Einflüsse das Bewegungsrepertoire und die Bewegungsimprovisation beeinflussen: Eine qualitative Bewegungsanalyse deutscher und japanischer Sportstudenten
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDDCMC'19 Book of Abstracts : First International Conference; Dance Data, Cognition and Multimodal Communication September 19-21, Universidade Nov de Lisboa
Number of pages1
Publication date20.09.2019
Publication statusPublished - 20.09.2019
EventInternational Conference on Dance Data, Cognition and Multimodal Communications - Lissabon, Portugal
Duration: 19.09.201921.09.2019
Conference number: 1