Dancing statistics


Learning scientific knowledge is different from learning sports, acting, or playing music instruments, in which you need to view, listen, touch, and perform.

Most scientific knowledge is abstract and has no concrete forms (e.g., colors, melodies, texture, motion, etc.). Acquiring the knowledge usually requires logic thinking skills.

However, recently researchers have shown that body experiences (e.g., watching others dance) can help people learn scientific knowledge.

A British Psychology Society Public Engagement Grant is awarded to Aston University to make films that help demonstrate statistical concepts in psychology using dancing.

The films have been released on YouTube and got over 100,000 views so far.

In one film, dancing is used to explain the concepts of sampling and standard error.

A blue dancer is the population who creates a shape, and each of the remaining dancers is a sample drawn from the population.

If the shape of a sample closely matches that of the population, the sample estimates the population shape well.

If the shape of a sample is quite different from that of the population, it is not a good estimation of the population.

In either case, the sample makes a different estimate of the population shape, known as sampling variation. The larger variation the samples make, the greater the sampling variation is.

A small standard error tells that the samples are likely to produce estimates close to the population, whereas a big standard error tells that the samples may produce estimates far away from the population.

Lots of teachers have shown an interest to use the films in their courses. This shows that dancing as a pedagogical tool has attracted more attention from science and education fields.

Citation: Yang J. (2016). How to learn a foreign language with your body.
Irving LT. (2015) Teaching statistics using dance and movement. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:50. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00050
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