Mental reproduction of a dance choreography and its effects on physiological fatigue in dancers


  • Anita Hökelmann Otto-von-Guericke-University, Germany
  • Peter Blaser University of Magdeburg, Germany



Dance, Fatigue, Mental, Physiologic


As stated at the start of this article, psychological and physical demand states can be understood as the effects and consequences caused by loads. To deduce the physiological characteristics of psychophysical demand, theoretical concepts like the load/demand concept are commonly used as a basis. Since demand itself is not directly quantifiable, reference must be made to demand indicators. This means measurement regulations determine what we define as psychophysical demand. The experiment described in this article falls under the category of mental (cognitive) demand that assumes knowledge exists about a dance choreography in the case of the persons being tested. This knowledge includes in particular, as well as conscious sense perceptions about events in the external world and one's own body, mental activities such as thinking, imagining and remembering using emotional and motivational powers. These accentuate the focus for conscious actions. Particularly for the processes of thinking and remembering, attention increases concrete states of consciousness, which also manifest themselves in an increase in electrical activity of neurons in the b frequencies. These phenomena could be discerned in all dancers and manifested themselves in similar ways. The states of consciousness are regenerated in the close interplay between cortical and limbic structures and are ultimately dependent on the function of the neuron collections. These functions are not only affected by external excitement, but also excite one another and combine with other cognitive excitement patterns such as memories, sensations, perceptions and imagination. At the same time, the neural states influence other vegetative functions such as heart, respiratory and muscle activities. In light of the question stated at the outset, the tendencies in the results confirm similar investigations proving that mental reproduction of motor actions affect all association areas of the cortex, despite the performance part of the action in the sense of its execution not being included. Since a large number of neural connections exist between the cortices, we can assume that the moment mental reproduction of a chain of actions takes place, such as a dance, a self-contained association area comes into being, in which the complex movement structures of the dance appear clearly in the form of increased beta activities. Furthermore, the increased neural activity due to mental concentration also leads, via the relevant vegetative connections, to a change in cardiac, respiratory and muscle activity. In this way, events experienced in the past can lead to similar mental and vegetative reactions such as exist under the actual conditions of a dance. As mental demand increases, the physiological reactions return to a lower level due to fatigue. The intensity of the reactions seems to depend on individual aspects of those taking part in the experiment however. Mental load situations cannot be stimulated and represented in isolation, they are further inextricably bound up with matters of a socio-emotional and energy-efficiency nature.


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How to Cite

Hökelmann, A., & Blaser, P. (2009). Mental reproduction of a dance choreography and its effects on physiological fatigue in dancers. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 4(2), 129–141.



Sport Medicine, Nutrition & Health