Differential performance of professional dancers to the Music Apperception Test and the Thematic Apperception Test.

This project compared the relative performance of professional dancers and nondancers on the Music Apperception Test (MAT; van den Daele, 2014), then compared dancers’ performance on the MAT with that on the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; Murray, 1943). The MAT asks respondents to “tell a story to the music” in compositions written to represent basic emotions. Dancers had significantly shorter response latency and were more fluent in storytelling than a comparison group matched for gender and age. Criterion-based evaluation of dancers’ narratives found narrative emotion consistent with music written to portray the emotion, with the majority integrating movement, sensation, and imagery. Approximately half the dancers were significantly more fluent on the MAT than the TAT, while the other half were significantly more fluent on the TAT than the MAT. Dancers who were more fluent on the MAT had a higher proportion of narratives that integrated movement and imagery compared with those more fluent on the TAT. The results were interpreted as consistent with differences observed in neurological studies of auditory and visual processing, educational studies of modality preference, and the cognitive style literature. The MAT provides an assessment tool to complement visually based performance tests in personality appraisal. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)