Cognitive Assessment, Research Link

Working memory capacity for body movements?

This article is serious. But I think it is fun fun fun!

A test of working memory capacity was developed such that people had to imitate sequences of body movements such as the ones below:

Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

So, participants would be shown such clips in quick succession and then asked to imitate the movements in the same order.

Interestingly, the test is not just a novel way of measuring something we can already measure. It has differential validity. That is, it did not correlate with more traditional measures of visual and verbal working memory but it did correlate with a test measuring understanding of gestures.

I imagine that dancers would do well on such a test for two reasons. First, people who are good at imitating body movements (a la Gardner’s Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence) have a natural advantage in learning to dance. Second, dancing gives extensive training in imitating other people’s body movements. Expertise and training matter! Anyway, giving such a test to dancers and non-dancers would be a fun little study to do.

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2 thoughts on “Working memory capacity for body movements?

  1. Yes! Considering WM as topographically distributed patches of frontal cortex, maintaining activation in posterior or subcortical areas/circuits, why wouldn’t there be WM for movements? Or for smells or tastes?

    Baddeley’s model of the phonological loop and visuospatial sketch pad, while very important in its own right, has unnecessarily constrained thinking about WM.

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