COMPANION

Science inspired

‘Science inspired’ writings are those which set out to understand the practice and/or the teaching of the Alexander Technique, or aspects of these, with reference to scientific knowledge or theories. Excluded here is anatomy and physiology related to postural and movement mechanisms – See Use of anatomy and physiology.

Neuroscience

  • ‘How does Alexander teaching work? - Intention, empathy and the mirror neurons’ by Grant Dillon is attempting to explain how inhibition and direction is communicated to the pupil with reference to some physiology of neurons.[1]
  • ‘The man who mistook his brain for his self – And other tales of the self from neuroscience’ by Glenna Batson considers what current neuroscience tells us about the self.[2]
  • ‘Neuroplasticity 101’ Part I, II and III, by Glenna Batson on what recent science throws light on Alexander Technique teaching and learning.[3]
  • ‘The Alexander Technique and neuroscience – Three areas of interest’ by Henry Fagg considers the relevance of 1. ‘Two hemispheres’, 2. ‘The Two Action Systems: Two attitudes towards movement’, and 3. ‘The “comparator” model of motor awareness’.[4]
  • ‘The Alexander Technique and the science of self-regulation’ by Glenna Batson argues that the Technique resonates with the contemporary science of self-regulation, the ability to monitor our own thoughts, emotions and actions, and flexibly altering behaviour.[5]
  • ‘Inhibition and Purkinje cells of the cerebellum’ by John Henes, Indira M. Raman is a conversation between teacher (John) and pupil (Indira), the latter being a neuroscientist specialising in the properties of Purkinje cells. The discussion covers inhibition from an Alexander teacher’s perspective and inhibition from a neuroscientist’s perspective.[6]

Methodology

  • ‘Research on the Alexander Technique’ by Kathleen Ballard; on collecting observation statements as a first stage in a investigation, with reference to Karl Popper’s philosophy of science.[7]

Evolution

  • ‘The Readiness is All’ by Malcolm Williamson considers the evolution of the human mind with an emphasis on the predisposing factors that allowed for our modern thinking abilities.[8]

Consciousness

  • ‘Physiology and freedom’ by David Sheppard is a report of Dr Benjamin Libet’s lecture, ‘The role of conscious intention and conscious inhibition in producing a voluntary act’, to NASTAT’s annual general meeting in 1988.[9]
  • ‘What is consciousness for?’ by Henry Fagg suggests how the theories of neuroscientist Ezequiel Morsella might inform our understanding of the Technique.[10]
  • ‘Nine modern contexts for the Alexander Technique’ by Henry Fagg considers a number of other disciplines which may help contextualize the Technique: Ezequiel Morsella’s ‘adaptive action’, James Gibson’s ‘affordances’, Hubert Dreyfus ‘skilled coping’, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow’, Tim Ingold’s ‘correspondence’, Victor Gurfinkel’s ‘postural tone’, Dorothée Legrand’s ‘performative awareness’, and Iain McGilchrist’s ‘attention’.[11]
  • ‘The Alexander Technique as adaptive behaviour’ by Henry Fagg hypotheses that the Technique can be placed within a theory which explores consciousness in relation to adaptive, skeletal muscular action; with reference to Ezequiel Morsella.[12]

Perception

  • ‘The “why” of Alexander or the ineffacable pleasure of awareness’ by Jonathan Cole; on the emotional aspect of perception, especially the pleasant emotional aspect to movement and position sense (the ‘joy of movement’), on affective proprioception.[13]

Physics

  • ‘Chaos and coordination: The Alexander Technique and the new science of complexity’ by David Mills suggests that the new chaos theory will provide a general framework within which primary control can be viewed as the organising principle of coordination of the action of the whole individual, and that Alexander’s concept of wholeness in action can lead to a new paradigm of human coordination.[14]
  • ‘Making good use of complementarity’ by Ernst Peter Fischer; with reference to modern physics he argues for a non-mechanistic approach to our self and our body.[15]

Robotics engineering

  • ‘Hierarchial human control’ by Lawrence Jones reports on what programming in robotics engineering can tell us about the primary control.[16]
References

[1] ‘How does Alexander teaching work? - Intention, empathy and the mirror neurons’ by Grant Dillon in Direction vol. 3, no. 4 edited by Paul Cook (Direction Journal, 2005), pp. 13–15.
[2] ‘The man who mistook his brain for his self – And other tales of the self from neuroscience’ by Glenna Batson in Direction vol. 3, no. 4 edited by Paul Cook (Direction Journal, 2005), pp. 19–23.
[3] ‘Neuroplasticity 101’ Part I, II and III, by Glenna Batson: Part I in AmSAT News issue no. 79 (Spring 2009), pp. 14–16. Part II in AmSAT News issue no. 80 (Summer 2009), p. 21–23, 26. Part III in AmSAT News issue no. 81 (Winter 2009), pp. 21–23.
[4] ‘The Alexander Technique and neuroscience – Three areas of interest’ by Henry Fagg in STATNews vol. 7, no. 7 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2012), pp. 20–25.
[5] ‘The Alexander Technique and the science of self-regulation’ by Glenna Batson in Connected Perspectives edited by Claire Rennie, Tanya Shoop, Kamal Thapen (HITE, 2015), pp. 313–25.
[6] ‘Inhibition and Purkinje cells of the cerebellum’ by John Henes, Indira M. Raman
in STATNews vol. 10, no. 1 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2019), pp. 20–22.
[7] ‘Research on the Alexander Technique’ by Kathleen Ballard in STATNews vol. 6, no. 13 edited by Ann James (STAT, May 2004), pp. 19–21.
[8] ‘The Readiness is All’ by Malcolm Williamson in AmSAT Journal issue no. 19 (Spring 2022), pp. 31–34.
[9] ‘Physiology and freedom’ by David Sheppard in The Alexander Review vol. 4, no. 1 (Centerline Press, 1990), pp. 5–17.
[10] ‘What is consciousness for?’ by Henry Fagg in STATNews vol. 8, no. 3 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, May 2013), pp. 21–22.
[11] ‘Nine modern contexts for the Alexander Technique’ by Henry Fagg in The Alexander Journal no. 25 edited by Paul Marsh and Jamie McDowell (STAT, 2015), pp. 12–26.
[12] ‘The Alexander Technique as adaptive behaviour’ by Henry Fagg in Connected Perspectives edited by Claire Rennie, Tanya Shoop, Kamal Thapen (HITE, 2015), pp. 199–217.
[13] ‘The “why” of Alexander or the ineffacable pleasure of awareness’ by Jonathan Cole in Connected Perspectives edited by Claire Rennie, Tanya Shoop, Kamal Thapen (HITE, 2015), pp. 3–11.
[14] ‘Chaos and coordination: The Alexander Technique and the new science of complexity’ by David Mills in The Congress Papers 1991, A Spirit of Learning Together edited by Jeremy Chance (Direction, 1992), pp. 136–40.
[15] ‘Making good use of complementarity’ by Ernst Peter Fischer in The Congress Papers 1999, An Ongoing Discovery edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (STATBooks, 2001), pp. 132–41.
[16] ‘Hierarchial human control’ by Lawrence Jones in STATNews vol. 9, no. 2 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2015), pp. 19–21.
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