Bewegungssonifikation: psychologische Grundlagen und Auswirkungen der Verklanglichung menschlicher Handlungen in der Rehabilitation, im Sport und bei Musikaufführungen
Movement sonification: Psychological foundations and effects of sonification on human actions in rehabilitation, sports and music

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Jesper Hohagen
Clemens Wöllner


Movement sonification, as an important field within the broader framework of sonification, is a growing research area that has a considerable impact on both artistic performances and the sciences. Sonification describes the transformation of data into sound, and is a technique of creating sound in some form of interaction design. Movement sonification can be defined as sonification of human movement data, mostly by transforming kinematic or dynamic movement parameters with the aim of creating intuitive movement sounds. There are central psychological processes underlying movement sonification applications, such as perception-action coupling, motor learning and embodiment. Across disciplines, related theories are well investigated in sport and performance psychology or music psychology, but there is also a high potential for studying the effects of auditory feedback in form of movement sonification on processes involved in perception and performance. Many studies using movement sonification as a scientific method can be found in the rehabilitation and sports domain, aiming at reaching insight into motor learning in specific movement tasks. Results of a small number of studies are promising and show positive effects of movement sonification on motor rehabilitation after stroke, and for improving postural motor learning and balance control. Furthermore, results indicate enhanced performances in rowing and running when using auditory feedback in form of movement sonification or natural movement sounds. In the music domain, movement sonification is applied as an augmentation of traditional or digital instruments, assuming that additional auditory feedback of musical movements should support the training on musical instruments. Besides, dance studies report on different training settings in which sonification of dance movements opens a new artistic level and could help in terms of pedagogical feedback. While only a few investigations in this area used randomized-controlled experiments, there are many technical reports of projects in which sonification systems for specific applications and research designs are described for potential future studies. Researchers often use sonification techniques without any evaluation of different sonification strategies, neither concerning the effect of various auditory feedback styles on a certain task nor regarding aesthetical issues of the sonification sounds. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of research from different application areas using movement sonification, and to discuss the findings with regard to the underlying psychological mechanisms and applied sonification strategies. This article provides the chief definitions in the context of movement sonification and examines the psychological processes involved. Moreover, it gives an overview of movement sonification research in rehabilitation, sports and music by highlighting experimental designs and evaluation approaches of sonification strategies. On the basis of present knowledge, the use of movement sonification offers high potential for music psychology research.

movement sonification; auditory feedback; interaction; perception-action coupling; motor learning; evaluation; rehabilitation; sports; music; dance

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Research Reports on Thematic Focus