We examined the ability to detect a match between a piece of music and a dance intended to express it. We used three pieces of music and three dances, and we presented these under the four following conditions. (1) Sequential selection: participants were presented with a piece of music and then selected, from among three sequentially presented dances, the one that best matched the music; or they were presented with a dance and then selected, from among three sequentially presented musical pieces, the one that best matched the dance. (2) Sequential judgment: participants were presented with a piece of music followed by a dance, or with a dance followed by a piece of music, and decided how well these matched. (3) Simultaneous judgment: participants were presented simultaneously with a piece of music and a dance and decided how well these matched. (4) Isolated presentation: participants were presented with either a dance or a musical piece and answered questions about its characteristics and their responses to it. Participants in the first three conditions answered similar questions about how they made their decision about the match between music and dance. A total of 942 university students participated. In the sequential selection condition, participants successfully matched the music with the dance intended to express it. In the sequential judgment and simultaneous judgment conditions, participants acknowledged matches between congruent music and dance, but also noted matches between music and dance not intended to be congruent. The various means by which participants detected a match between music and dance are examined.
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