Open Floor Related Research

Our Curriculum is Rooted in the Lifelong Study of Dance, Embodiment and Mindfulness.

The articles and research findings collected here are an intersectional sampling from the genealogical fields informing Open Floor’s body of work. They expose the logic of the curriculum, while also revealing how our praxis exists at the forefront of developing empirical knowledge and emerging theoretical insights.

Table of Contents

Areas of Research

Affect Theory and Emotional Intelligence

Embodied Affectivity: On Moving and Being Moved (Nov 2019) Thomas Fuchs, Sabine Koch.

  •  “If the resonance or affectability of the body is modified in specific ways, this will change the person’s affective perception accordingly. … Thus, the different components of the affection-intention-motion cycle influence one another. … The last point is of particular psychotherapeutic importance, for it shows that emotions may not only be influenced by cognitive means (i.e., by changing the cognitive component of the cycle), but also by modifying the bodily resonance.”
  • “emotions result from the body’s own feedback and the circular interaction between affective affordances in the environment and the subject’s bodily resonance, be it in the form of sensations, postures, expressive movements, or movement tendencies. Through its resonance, the body functions as a medium of emotional perception.”
  • “In interaffectivity, our body is tacitly affected by the other’s expression, and we experience the kinetics and intensity of his emotions through our own bodily kinaesthesia and sensation. This means that in every social encounter, two cycles of embodied affectivity become intertwined, thus continuously modifying each partner’s affective affordances and resonance.”
  • “affects are not enclosed in an inner mental sphere to be deciphered from outside, but come into existence, change and circulate between self and other in the interbodily dialog. Emotions are neither individual nor unidirectional phenomena; they operate in cycles that can involve multiple people in processes of mutual influence and bonding.”

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article “What Makes a Leader?” by Daniel Goleman) (May 2015)

  • “far too many training programs that intend to build leadership skills – including emotional intelligence – are a waste of money. The problem is simple: they focus on the wrong part of the brain”

Interoception and Social Connection (Nov. 2019)
Andrew J. Arnold, Piotr Winkielman, Karen Dobkins

  • “We end with a discussion of loneliness – an extreme case of poor social connection, which is associated with physiological decline and increased mortality risk, and propose that interoceptive dysregulation is involved. We suggest that interventions aimed to improve interoceptive abilities, such as mindfulness-based meditation practices, may be key for alleviating loneliness and improving social connection.”
  • “Given that there are links between interoception and social processing, what might be the underlying mechanisms? One idea, which we refer to as the “enhanced emotional discernment hypothesis,” is that better ability to feel bodily reactions translates to having a richer emotional experience. In turn, richer emotional experience may facilitate greater understanding of others’ emotions, and empathy – the process of understanding, sharing, and/or responding to others’ emotions (Decety, 2011; Zaki, 2014)”
    • See: Durlik, C., and Tsakiris, M. (2015). Decreased interoceptive accuracy following social exclusion. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 96, 57–63
  • “In order to facilitate social sensitivity and reduce loneliness, we suggest that improving one’s interoceptive abilities may be key. This idea also follows from the “enhanced emotional discernment hypothesis,” as outline above. Being able to accurately “tune in” to one’s own internal (emotional) states and properly used them in social judgments may improve social connection and decrease loneliness.”



The Embodied Brain: Towards a Radical Embodied Cognitive Neuroscience (May 2015)
Julian Kiverstein, Mark Miller.

  • “Any separation of emotional and cognitive processes in the brain doesn’t hold up in reality. The brain areas that neuroimaging studies identify as being active when people perform tasks that engage emotional and cognitive processes turn out to be in constant and continuous interaction.”
  • “Emotional processes take place in the living body of the organism in its interactions with an environment rich with affordances. … there is no separating emotion and cognition”
  • We “need to think about mind and the cognitive processes that make up the mind at the level of the whole brain-body-environment system.” … “we need to think of cognitive function in the brain as context-sensitive”

Radical Embodied Cognitive Science 2009 MIT Press
Anthony Chemero

  • “I hereby define radical embodied cognitive science as the scientific study of perception, cognition, and action as necessarily embodied phenomenon, using explanatory tools that do not posit mental representations. It is cognitive science without mental gymnastics.”
  •  “In radical embodied cognitive science, the explanation of cognition is dynamical, and (wide) computationalism is explicitly rejected. Agents and environments are modeled as nonlinearly coupled dynamical systems. Because the agent and environment are nonlinearly coupled, they form a unified, nondecomposable system, which is to say that they form a system whose behavior cannot be modeled, even approximately, as a set of separate parts.”

Self-Organization, Free Energy Minimization, and Optimal Grip on a Field of Affordances (Aug. 2014)
Jelle Bruineberg, Erik Rietveld

  • “interacting action-readiness patterns at multiple timescales contribute to the organism’s selective openness to relevant affordances”
  • “From the picture presented in this paper it becomes clear that the common ground for researchers in radical embodied cognitive science, ecological psychologists and dynamical computational neuroscientists is the view that the brain is an intrinsically instable dynamical system embedded in the broader system “brain-body-landscape of affordances.” The central way in which an organism relates to its environment is by the organism as a whole tending toward an optimal grip on the field of affordances.”

Health & Wellness

Cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory changes induced by different types of music in musicians and non-musicians: the importance of silence (Feb, 2016)

Bernardi, C. Porta, P. Sleight

  • “Music induces an arousal effect, predominantly related to the tempo. Slow or meditative music can induce a relaxing effect; relaxation is particularly evident during a pause. Music, especially in trained subjects, may first concentrate attention during faster rhythms, then induce relaxation during pauses or slower rhythms.”
  • “Music now has an increasing role in several disparate areas. Music can reduce stress and improve athletic performance, motor function in neurologically impaired patients with stroke or parkinsonism”
  • “Listening to music is a complex phenomenon, involving psychological, emotional, neurological, and cardiovascular changes, with behavioural modifications of breathing. Non-musicians listen by using the non-dominant hemisphere, whereas musicians (who are probably more attentive) use the dominant hemisphere.”

Verbal Auditory Cueing of Improvisational Dance: A Proposed Method for Training Agency in Parkinson’s Disease (Feb. 2016)
Glenna Batson, Christina E. Hugenschmidt, Christina T. Soriano

  • “Dance is a non-pharmacological intervention that helps maintain functional independence and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease (PPD). Results from controlled studies on group-delivered dance for people with mild-to-moderate stage Parkinson’s have shown statistically and clinically significant improvements in gait, balance, and psychosocial factors.”
  • “improvisation evokes acting on the unexpected and unknown. The objective is that preplanned or prescriptive movement, copying or mimicking are replaced by the possibility for novel physical responses. Improvisation does not imply that the event lacks structure or that people are free to do whatever they want. While material may be unplanned or unexpected, it is not random”
  • “neuroimaging literature on improvisation suggests that frontal cortex may be deactivated during improvisation, while motor and premotor regions are more active (39–41), suggesting that improvisation might train the motor and premotor regions to operate independently of prefrontal regions. In other words, improvisation may help to train brain networks involved in automaticity.”
    • See: Liu S, Chow HM, Xu Y, Erkkinen MG, Swett KE, Eagle MW, et al. Neural correlates of lyrical improvisation: an FMRI study of freestyle rap. Sci Rep (2012)


The History and Philosophy of Ecological Psychology (Nov. 2018)
Lorena Lobo, Manuel Heras-Escribano, David Travieso

  • “the main principles of ecological psychology are the continuity of perception and action, the organism-environment system as unit of analysis, the study of affordances as the objects of perception, combined with an emphasis on perceptual learning and development.”


Fostering Children and Adolescents’ Creative Thinking in Education. Theoretical Model of Drama Pedagogy Training (Jan. 2019)

Macarena-Paz Celume, Maud Besançon, Franck Zenasni

  • “Creativity is a flux of movement from the unconscious to the conscious body (Halprin, 2014), achieved as a result of the embodiment process. Thus, through corporal expression, we have access to personal information that enables us to create something original and authentic, based on the interrelation of the unconscious and the conscious body.”
    • See: Halprin, D. (2014). La Force Expressive du Corps. Gap: Le Souffle d’or.

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