Come Dance with Me: Movement Control in Brain and Body. McMaster Institute for Music and the\ Mind NeuroMusic Conference
A few weeks ago, I experienced my first taste of true academia a poster session!!
This may not be the most glamorous or significant achievement in a
student/researchers career, but as it was my first contribution to the
scientific world, it was pretty meaningful!
The conference started off with 2 great talks from Dr.
Gammon Earhart and Dr. Jessica Phillips-Silver. Dr. Phillips-Silver
discussed her research involving subject "Matthieu" who has been
labelled as "Beat-deaf". This was a fascinating talk about this unique
subject who is totally unable to move his body to any beat within a
musical context. His abilities to move to a pure beat (metronome) seems
to be unimpaired. What makes this even more interesting is that Matthieu
seems to be the only person that has been observed with this deficit!
Because of this, Dr. Philips-Silver's research on beat-deafness has to
date been exclusively a case-study. As such, she hopes to find more
subjects with this disorder in order to be able to normally investigate
it as a psychological/neural disorder.
Dr. Gammon Earhart discussed her research
in following groups of Parkinson's Disease (PD) as they routinely
attended dance therapy (DT) sessions. The most interesting finding from
her research that I took away from her talk, was that PD patients who
participated in the dance therapy (as opposed to traditional movement
therapies) had prolonged benefits from the DT even after they stopped
attending the sessions! She also touched on additional benefits of DT,
such as improved mood with social interactions, improved physical shape
with routine exercise, and how these factors play back into the improved
This was followed by my highlight of the
day; the poster session! It was only scheduled for 2 hours, a fact that I
wouldn't have minded prior to presenting my poster, but by the end, I
found that I would have liked to be able to share my work with more
people who simply didn't have time to get to all the posters. In
general, people were very interested in my presentation, and the whole
labs research in general! In addition to people blatantly telling me
this, I also picked up on this since almost everyone who stopped at my
poster waited to hear the entire story, and were all interested to know
where we were going with the research. I got some great feedback from
Steven Brown, and traded contact information with a woman (MD) who works
in a sports rehabilitation center!
The final talk was given by Dr. Emily
Cross. She discussed several lines of research she has/is conducting,
all of which involving creative performance and its perception. This was
a great talk, she discussed "how our individual experiences
shape the way we perceive and learn by watching others"; including a
Action Observation Network (AON), and research involving stop motion
toys simulating the movement of a human dancer (and vice versa).
The whole day was a great success, and I think the "crew" from our lab
did a great job representing our research and spreading the word about
the hard work we have all be putting in!