Hi everyone! My name is Ameena Ashraf and I am a junior majoring in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. Psychology and neuroscience are so intriguing to me and I knew I had to conduct my own research to kick start my future. I have always had an appreciation for the performing arts, so when I saw there was a project that meshed science with dance, I had to jump on it.
The project my group and I decided to do was to see how different authority figures affect dance performance by looking at the height displacement of a grand jeté (jump), length of a circular loop, and angular velocity of a soutenu (quick spin). Previously, I did some research on anxiety and wanted to quantitate it on a dancer, so we measured heart rate and provided a self-reporting anxiety survey called the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). On a weekly basis, our team was going through articles to find more information on authority figures and performance. A week of our time was devoted to running participants through a motion capture system called Motive. The rest of the weeks consisted of post-processing, writing code in MATLAB, and analyzing data.
The collaboration between psychology, bioengineering, and dance has been rewarding. There is a beneficial and fulfilling sense of accomplishment one gets in an interdisciplinary project. I have learned more about collaboration, bioengineering, dance, and research this summer than I have anywhere else.