Human Movement Sonification for Motor Skill Learning

  • John Dyer

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Transforming human movement into live sound can be used as a method to enhance motor skill learning via the provision of augmented perceptual feedback. A small but growing number of studies hint at the substantial efficacy of this approach, termed 'movement sonification'. However there has been sparse discussion in Psychology about how movement should be mapped onto sound to best facilitate learning.

The current thesis draws on contemporary research conducted in Psychology and theoretical debates in other disciplines more directly concerned with sonic interaction - including Auditory Display and Electronic Music-Making - to propose an embodied account of sonification as feedback.

The empirical portion of the thesis both informs and tests some of the assumptions of this approach with the use of a custom bimanual coordination paradigm. Four motor skill learning studies were conducted with the use of optical motion-capture. Findings support the general assumption that effective mappings aid learning by making task-intrinsic perceptual information more readily available and meaningful, and that the relationship between task demands and sonic information structure (or, between action and perception) should be complementary.

Both the theoretical and empirical treatments of sonification for skill learning in this thesis suggest the value of an approach which addresses learner experience of sonified interaction while grounding discussion in the links between perception and action.
Date of AwardJun 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorMatthew Rodger (Supervisor) & Paul Stapleton (Supervisor)


  • sonification
  • motor skill learning
  • augmented feedback
  • perception and action
  • sound design
  • music

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