Formal dance training, cognitive ability, and academic performance of adolescent females

Carolyn Stephanie Lanfredi, Fordham University

Abstract

The benefit of the arts on the cognitive and academic development of children has been the subject of much debate. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between formal dance training and specific cognitive abilities related to reading and math achievement. More specifically, the study examined the extent to which visual-spatial thinking, auditory processing, and short-term memory, individually and in combination, predicted reading and math achievement, and the extent to which dance training predicted reading and math achievement above and beyond that of these cognitive abilities. Seventy adolescent females ages 14–18 with varying degrees of dance exposure completed a questionnaire documenting their dance training. The cognitive abilities were measured using the Woodcock–Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities. Reading and math achievement were assessed with the Woodcock–Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Results indicated that dance training was not significantly correlated with any of the three cognitive abilities. Regression analyses demonstrated that auditory processing and short-term memory significantly predicted reading achievement. Visual-spatial thinking and short-term memory significantly predicted math achievement. Dance training did not significantly contribute to any of the regression models. This study contributes to the literature base by investigating the relationship between dance and cognitive and academic skills using a more refined research design with well-established and validated standardized assessments.^

Subject Area

Dance|Education, Performing Arts|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Lanfredi, Carolyn Stephanie, "Formal dance training, cognitive ability, and academic performance of adolescent females" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3565172.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3565172

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