COMPANION

Frank P. Jones’ research

Frank P. Jones measured predominantly changes in posture and movement (mainly sit-to-stand) with or without the application of the Alexander Technique, using multiple image photography with markers on various parts of the subject’s body in the form of small lamps or of reflective tape illuminated by flashes. There were clear differences between ‘habitual’ and ‘guided’, i.e. the subject being guided in the movement by an Alexander teacher. Studies were carried out between 1951 and 1972. Jones included a summary of his research in his Freedom to Change.[1]

Changes in the poise of the head upon patterns of movement and posture in man

‘Interrupted light photography to record the effect of changes in the poise of the head upon patterns of movement and posture in man’ by F. P. Jones and Marshall Narva: a single subject was recorded with photography sitting in a ‘relaxed’ posture, ‘best sitting posture’ (as upright as he could). Multiple-image photography then recorded the subject carrying the following movements: straightening up, leaning back to an upright position from a leaning forward position, and getting up from a chair. The same movements were then recorded after Jones changed the poise of the head ‘by applying sufficient upward pressure at the occiput to put the muscles attached to it under a light stretch and to rotate the head foreward on the atlas. A number of observations was made concerning the movement and the speed of the head between ‘habitual’ and ‘adjusted’ movement patterns. Similar results were obtained with 9 other subjects.[2]

Kinesthetic perception and the postural reflexes

‘Kinesthetic perception and the postural reflexes’ by F. P. Jones. This study only includes the change in multiple-image photography recorded movement pattern of a single subject, before and after 15 minutes of instruction in the Technique. Most of the paper is a discussion of postural reflexes, Alexander’s work and the influence of the startle pattern.[3]

An experimental study of the effect of head balance on patterns of posture and movement in man

‘An experimental study of the effect of head balance on patterns of posture and movement in man’ by F. P. Jones, et al. is s study of six male students, age 20 to 26, who underwent 20 biweekly 30-minutes lessons in the Alexander Technique (here called ‘kinesthetic perception’), and both single image and multiple-image photography were used to record position and movement in space and time. Movement patterns included ‘habitual’ and ‘reflex facilitated’ (i.e. as a result of Alexander Technique training). In addition subjective accounts reported the kinesthetic effect of lightness and a decrease in their feelings of tension and fatigue.[4]

Head-balance and sitting posture

‘Head-balance and sitting posture: An x-ray analysis’ by F. P. Jones, et al. The 20 male students who were the subjects were instructed to sit in the ‘most relaxed’ posture, ‘most erect’ posture, and in the ‘experimental posture’ where the head was guided to a ‘forward and up’ position. Various measurements, including neck angle and head angle, were made from x-ray photography.[5]

Head balance and sitting posture II

‘Head balance and sitting posture II: The role of the sternomastoid muscle’ by F. P. Jones, et al. Seven male students, aged 16–21, were instructed to sit in the ‘most comfortable’ posture, ‘best’ posture, ‘greatest sitting height’ and then the subject’s head was guided into the ‘experimental posture’ (i.e. forward and up according to the Alexander Technique). Continuous surface electromyographic record as well as photographs was obtained for all. One of the conclusions is that the sternomastoid muscle activity does not increase between ‘most comfortable’ and ‘experimental posture’ (unlike ‘best’ posture and ‘greatest sitting height’ postures).[6]

Note on the persistence of pattern in a gross body movement

‘Note on the persistence of pattern in a gross body movement’ by F. P. Jones, et al. The slowest and the fastest subjects from the study ‘Time-space pattern in a gross body movement’ were measured again 15 months after the first study. The basic character of the movement pattern ‘has persisted’.[7]

Quantitative analysis of abnormal movement

‘Quantitative analysis of abnormal movement: The sit-to-stand pattern’ by F. P. Jones, et al. Eight patients, who were neuorologically impaired, from the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, were recorded performing the following movements: arm drop, arm lift, moving from sitting to standing, walking, and shifting position in a chair (i.e. leaning forward to sitting up straight). Of these only a complete analysis was made of the sit-to-stand movement. The measurements were done with multiple-image photography in profile with markers on points such as the 7th cervical vertebra, the sternal notch, and in the Frankfort plane for the purpose of recording the head and the neck in relation to the trunk. In addition acceleration, velocity, head trajectory were recorded. A comparison was done with uninjured (‘normal’) male students.[8]

Postural set and overt movement

‘Postural set and overt movement: A force-platform analysis’ by F. P. Jones, et al. This study correlates head–neck movements with a force platform in sit-to-stand. Markers on the 7th cervical vertebra, the sternal notch, and in the Frankfort plane, and the subject performed the sitting to standing in the habitual and in the guided movement.[9]

Voice production as a function of head balance in singers

‘Voice production as a function of head balance in singers’ by F. P. Jones. A sound spectroscopy (a voice print) was made of a young woman singing, in an ‘habitual’ head-neck position and in an ‘adjusted’ head-neck position. The ‘adjusted’ head-neck position showed an improvement in the richness of the overtones and the almost disappearance of breathing sounds.[10]

Summary papers

Note that Frank P. Jones also wrote a number of papers which included and/or summarised the research above. They include:

  • ‘A method for changing stereotyped response patterns by the inhibition of certain postural sets’ by by F. P. Jones is a summary report of his research including references to stretch reflexes, head-neck reflexes, the startle pattern, for the purpose of explaining how the Alexander Technique might work. He proposes that releasing the head from its habitual attitude facilitates an antigravity response.[11]
  • ‘An experimental study of the Alexander Technique’ by F. P. Jones is a summary of Jones’ research, including previously unpublished data on ‘magnitude estimation’, a method for judging the effort involved in maintaining an erect posture. He presents the hypothesis that the Alexander Technique restores a natural functioning of the postural reflexes.[12]
  • ‘Head balance as a postural mechanism in man’ by F. P. Jones is a summing-up of some of Jones’ research, especially on the change in posture and movement which the Alexander Technique brings about.[13]

Other science papers

Jones also wrote a number of other research articles which did not include the Alexander Technique, but examined technical aspects of making measurements or were studies of postural behaviour. These would inform other research.

  • ‘An electromyographic technique for recording the startle patten’ by F. P. Jones, et al. Electromyography was used to study the onset and duration of muscle activity in response to different startle sounds (from a 22 caliber revolver shot to that of a dropped board), subjects were 8 men between 21 and 50 years of age. The response of the neck was most readily and consistently recorded, irrespective of the stimulus strength. Although this study did not include any aspect of the Alexander Technique it informed some of Jones’ later research.[14]
  • ‘Applications of multiple-image photography in the time-motion analysis of human movement with a note on “color coding”’ by F. P. Jones, et al. is on the technique of colour coding for different parts of the body for ease of analysis. This technique would be used in later studies.[15]
  • ‘Color coding of stroboscopic multiple-image photographs’ by F. P. Jones, et al. is on the invention of a technique for colour coding of different parts of the body.[16]
  • ‘Posture as a function of time’ by F. P. Jones, et al. is a summary paper on using multiple-image photography to record movement pattern of a single subject sitting-to-standing with markers on the 7th cervical vertebra, the sternal notch and a marker on the Frankfort plane between the tragion of the ear and the lowest point of the eye orbit. The paper is not on the Alexander Technique on the recording methods of studying sit-to-stand movement patterns.[17]
  • ‘Neck muscle tension and the postural image’ by F. P. Jones, et al. Seven male students, aged 16–21, were instructed to sit in the ‘most comfortable’ posture, ‘best’ posture, ‘greatest sitting height’ and then the subject’s head was guided into the ‘experimental posture’ (i.e. forward and up according to the Alexander Technique). Continuous surface electromyographic record as well as photographs was obtained for all. The subjects were asked to lift two different weights (2kg and 4kg) by bringing their arms up to a horizontal position. The subjects were to stand up in response to different instructions: 1. standing up comfortably, 2. standing up more slowly than the subject was accustomed to, 3. standing up as quickly as possible, 4. the same as one, but this time starting from a ‘greatest height’ sitting position. In standing the subjects were asked to adopt ‘best’, ‘most comfortable’ and ‘greatest height’ position. In addition the subjects were asked to take a deep breath and hold it, and to breathe out deeply and hold it, and to stand on tip-toes. At the end the subjects filled in a brief questionnaire.[18]
  • ‘Time-space pattern in a gross body movement’ by F. P. Jones, et al. 25 male students were divided into two groups, ‘well coordinated’ and ‘poorly coordinated’. Each group was photographed during sit-to-stand with markers on 1. the center of the Frankfort plane, 2. a point on the skin directly over the 7th cervical vertebra, 3. a point of the lateral surface of the arm just below the elbow. In addition the head angle, the neck angle, the arm and leg angles were measured. Reaction time and velocity of movement were also recorded. Six indices were found to distinguish between the two groups. (Although not mentioned in the paper the movement patterns of the ‘well coordinated’ group resembled the patterns of ‘guided movement’ described in other papers.)[19]
  • ‘Postural aspects of neck muscle tension’ by F. P. Jones, et al. Seven male and seven female students between the age of 16 and 24 were the subjects who were measured during 19 procedures. Measurements consisted of photographs and surface electromyography. Procedures 1–3: Subjects were instructed to sit in the ‘most comfortable’ posture, ‘best’ posture, and ‘greatest height’. Procedures 4–9: in any of the three sitting postures the subjects were instructed to lift and hold a weight at arm’s length, with two different weights (for males: 2kg and 4kg; for females: 1kg and 2kg). Procedures 10–13. From each of the sitting postures above, subjects had to stand up at 1. the subject’s normal speed; 2. slower than usual; 3. as fast as possible. Procedures 14–16. Subjects was asked to stand at their ‘most comfortable’ posture, at their ‘best posture’, and their ‘greatest height’. Procedure 17: subjects were asked to stand on tip-toes. Procedures 18–19: Subjects, standing, were asked to take a deep breath and hold it, and to breathe out deeply and hold it. No Alexander Technique was involved.[20]

Criticism

In his review of Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones (1978), T. D. M. Roberts criticises Jones’s research for being predominantly mensuration, for being simple observations instead of inquiries with predictive value. And where Jones offers explanations for changes observed, Roberts criticises them for relying on outdated postural studies of Magnus and de Kleyn. Roberts writes: ‘The relation between reflexes and voluntary behaviour is seriously misunderstood and the postural scheme put forward by Magnus and relied on here is now known to be invalid.’[21]

References

[1] Freedom to Change [Body Awareness in Action] by Frank Pierce Jones (Mouritz, 1997 [1976]).
[2] ‘Interrupted light photography to record the effect of changes in the poise of the head upon patterns of movement and posture in man’ by F. P. Jones and Marshall Narva in Journal of Psychology vol. 40, 1955, pp. 125–31. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 93–99.
[3] ‘Kinesthetic perception and the postural reflexes’ by F. P. Jones. A 1957 lecture later published in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 113–30.
[4] ‘An experimental study of the effect of head balance on patterns of posture and movement in man’ by F. P. Jones, Florence E. Gray, John A. Hanson and D. N. O’Connell in Journal of Psychology vol. 47, 1959, pp. 247–58. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 145–59.
[5] ‘Head-balance and sitting posture: An x-ray analysis’ by F. P. Jones and Philip F. M. Gilley, Jr. in Journal of Psychology vol. 49, 1960, pp. 289–93. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 161–66.
[6] ‘Head balance and sitting posture II: The role of the sternomastoid muscle’ by F. P. Jones, Florence E. Gray, and John A. Hanson in Journal of Psychology vol. 52, 1961, pp. 363–67. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 171–76.
[7] ‘Note on the persistence of pattern in a gross body movement’ by F. P. Jones, and John A. Hanson in Perceptual and Motor Skills vol. 14, 1962, p. 230. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 201–02.
[8] ‘Quantitative analysis of abnormal movement: The sit-to-stand pattern’ by F. P. Jones, John A. Hanson, John F. Miller, Jr., and Joseph Bossom in American Journal of Physical Medicine, vol. 42, no. 5, 1963, pp. 208–18. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 203–18.
[9] ‘Postural set and overt movement: A force-platform analysis’ by F. P. Jones and John A. Hanson in Perceptual and Motor Skills vol. 30, 1970, pp. 699–702. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 309–14.
[10] ‘Voice production as a function of head balance in singers’ by F. P. Jones in Journal of Psychology vol. 82, 1972, pp. 209–15. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 343–47.
[11] ‘A method for changing stereotyped response patterns by the inhibition of certain postural sets’ by by F. P. Jones in Psychological Review vol. 72, 1965, pp. 196–214. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 249–76.
[12] ‘An experimental study of the Alexander Technique’ by F. P. Jones in Stud. Med. vol. 35, 2 April 1971, pp. 699–702. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 309–14.
[13] ‘Head balance as a postural mechanism in man’ by F. P. Jones in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 363–73.
[14] ‘An electromyographic technique for recording the startle pattern’ by F. P. Jones and John L. Kennedy in Journal of Psychology vol. 32, 1951, pp. 63–68. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 47–53.
[15] ‘Applications of multiple-image photography in the time-motion analysis of human movement with a note on “color coding”’ by F. P. Jones and D. N. O’Connell in Photographic Science and Technique series II, no 3, 1956, pp. 11–14. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 101–12.
[16] ‘Color coding of stroboscopic multiple-image photographs’ by F. P. Jones and D. N. O’Connell in Science vol. 127, no. 3306, 1958, p. 1119. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 131–34.
[17] ‘Posture as a function of time’ by F. P. Jones and D. N. O’Connell in Journal of Psychology vol. 46, 1958, pp. 287–94. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 135–44.
[18] ‘Neck muscle tension and the postural image’ by F. P. Jones, Florence E. Gray, John A. Hanson, and J. D. Shoop in Ergonomics vol. 4, no. 2, 1961, pp. 133–41. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 177–90.
[19] ‘Time-space pattern in a gross body movement’ by F. P. Jones, and John A. Hanson in Perceptual and Motor Skills vol. 12, 1961, pp. 35–41. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 191–99.
[20] ‘Postural aspects of neck muscle tension’ by F. P. Jones, Florence E. Gray, and John A. Hanson in Ergonomics vol. 9, no. 3, 1966, pp. 245–56. Also in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique by Frank P. Jones. Edited by Theodore Dimon Jr. (Alexander Technique Archives, Inc., 1998), pp. 277–90.
[21] Review by T. D. M. Roberts in The Alexander Journal, Summer 2001, no. 17, pp. 36–39. Also online: https://mouritz.org/bibliography/item/17005.
 
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