The aesthetics of the experts - On the relationship of observers’ and performers’ expertise when perceiving motion aesthetics in freerunning skills




Biological motion perception, Empirical aesthetics, Likert-scales, Artistic sports


An observer’s perception of motion aesthetics strongly relies on the interplay between aspects of the motion stimuli, the sensory and motor expertise of the observer, and the context in which the stimuli are perceived. However, whether a fit in observers’ and performers’ sensory and motor expertise can boost aesthetic motion perception when observing complex motor skills, is still to be investigated. Thus, it was hypothesized that a fit between observers’ and performers’ sensory and motor expertise could boost aesthetic motion perception of complex motor skills. Expert and intermediate freerunners performed three different freerunning skills. Observers with varying levels of expertise were asked to indicate their perception of motion aesthetics when observing video sequences of expert and intermediate freerunning skill performances. Results indicate that a fit between observers’ and performers’ sensory and motor expertise levels does not boost aesthetic motion perception. In contrast, motor skill performances of expert freerunners are perceived as more aesthetically than intermediate freerunning performances from all three observer groups: expert freerunning observers, intermediate freerunning observers, and laypeople. Instead of a fit between the performer’s and the observer’s sensory and motor expertise, it is argued that object-driven parameters of a complex motor skill performance seem to be related to a rather universal embodied aesthetic motion perception.


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How to Cite

Vinken, P. M., Stirling, V., & Heinen, T. (2022). The aesthetics of the experts - On the relationship of observers’ and performers’ expertise when perceiving motion aesthetics in freerunning skills. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 17(4), 782–795.



Performance Analysis of Sport