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Comparing the efficacy (RCT) of learning a dance choreography and practicing creative dance on improving executive functions and motor competence in 6-7 years old children

Rudd, JR, Buszard, T, Spittle, S, O'Callaghan, L and Oppici, L (2020) Comparing the efficacy (RCT) of learning a dance choreography and practicing creative dance on improving executive functions and motor competence in 6-7 years old children. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 53. ISSN 1469-0292

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Abstract

Objectives: This study examined the effect of two different dance curriculums on executive functions and motor competence in 6-7 years old primary-school children across an 8-week period. One dance curriculum was underscored by creativity and the other was based on a choreographed dancing curriculum with high cognitive challenge.
Design: Randomised-controlled trial.
Methods: Sixty-two primary-school children (6.6 ± 0.5 years old; 47% females) participated for a control period in the regular school PE lessons, after which they were randomly assigned to two experimental groups – choreography dance group or creative dance group. The two experimental groups practiced dance for 8 weeks, twice a week, learning either a choreographed dance sequence with high cognitive challenge or creating their own dance sequence in a creative dance curriculum. Executive functions (working memory capacity, inhibition, and flexibility) and motor competence were assessed at three time points – baseline, pre-intervention and post-intervention.
Results: There was a time effect for inhibitory control (p < 0.01), with a high improvement during the intervention (d = 0.76) than baseline (d = 0.46); for working memory capacity (p < 0.01), with a higher improvement during intervention (d = 0.43) than baseline (d = 0.31) in the high challenging task; and for motor competence (p < 0.01), with a higher improvement during baseline (d = 1.7) than intervention (d = 0.75); no other significant effects. Group differences revealed weak evidence that the choreography group improved inhibitory control and working memory more than the creative dance group. However, a check for pedagogy fidelity revealed that the creative-dance curriculum was not adopted as planned (i.e., high volume of teacher's instruction and small use of music).
Conclusions: An 8-week dance intervention improved inhibitory control and potentially working memory capacity in grade one and two primary-school children. Contrary to prediction, the dance intervention did not improve motor competence beyond typical development. Discrepancy between the planned and adopted creative-dance curriculum suggests caution in interpreting results. This study provides new insights into the exercise-cognition relationship.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences, 13 Education, 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 11:56
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2020 10:00
DOI or Identification number: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101846
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14099

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