In my studies, I investigate how dancers’ perception and cognition changes through their training and how diverse audiences see and experience different forms of theatre and dance.
My multidisciplinary background as both scientist and choreographer clearly informs my scientific work. As such, my work focuses on finding links between the methodologies of the performing arts and of the sciences. A mutual understanding of each discipline's parameters is important since I aim to study the effects of dance scientifically and to inform science through dance.
A central finding of my work is the importance of ‘presence’ in the science of dance through the focus on ecologically valid experiments, which are experiments using more complex stimuli that are closely matched to real life experiences, for example a study conducted in the theatre, outside the scientific laboratory.
The scientific outputs are published internationally in field-specific peer reviewed journals in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, but I also frequently write for dance related outputs, such as collections or magazines.
Topics I have studied include: a dancer's embodiement of movement notation; brain activity in spatial perception and movement observation; and the adaptability of the sensory and motor system in dancers, non-dancers, and dance spectators.
Selected peer-reviewed papers are (for a full list see my University Website):
Reason, Jola, Kay, Reynolds, Kauppi, Grosbras, Tohka, Pollick, F. (2016). Spectators' aesthetic experience of sound and movement in dance performance: a transdisciplinary investigation. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 10(1), 42-55.
Herbec, Kauppi, Jola, Tohka, Pollick, (2015). Differences in fMRI intersubject correlation while viewing unedited and edited videos of dance performance. Cortex, 71, 341–348.
Jola, Pollick, Calvo-Merino (2014) “Some like it hot”: spectators who score high on the personality trait openness enjoy the excitement of hearing dancers breathing without music. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8:718.
Jola, Grosbras (2013). In the here and now. Enhanced motor corticospinal excitability in novices when watching live compared to video recorded dance. Cognitive Neuroscience.
Jola, Ehrenberg, Reynolds (2012). The experience of watching dance: phenomenological-neuroscience duets. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 11(1), 17-37.
Jola, Abedian-Amiri, Kuppuswamy, Pollick, Grosbas (2012). Motor simulation without motor expertise: enhanced corticospinal excitability in visually experienced dance spectators. PLoS ONE. 7(3): e33343.
Jola, Grosbras, Pollick (2011). Arousal decrease in ‘Sleeping Beauty’: audiences’ neurophysiological correlates to watching a narrative dance performance of 2.5 hrs. Dance Research Electronic. 29.2, 378–403.