Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Michael R. Nash

Committee Members

Jack M. Barlow, Garriy Shteynberg, John J. Sipes, Joshua T. Weinhandl


Movement not only permeates human life, but structures dimensions of experience. Phenomenological theory points to the dynamic congruency of movement and emotion, via the body schema, as shaping affectivity. For psychology, this calls for an understanding of behavior beyond being discrete events, but also manifesting kinetic melodies. Yet there is a gap in existing methodology for empirically studying the three-dimensional characteristics of human movement continuously across segments of the body. A potential line of research in this area, implicit affect regulation capacities, was described to inform the selection of instrumentation, measurement, and calculations of dynamic structure that would, theoretically, best measure movement for this and likely other purposes.

Regarding instrumentation, an active motion capture system based on the Xbox Kinect and iPiSoft software was selected. Regarding measurement, rotational kinetic energy was identified from the biomechanics literature to meet this requirement. Calculations of dynamic structure focused on a measure of complexity, or structural richness, called multivariate multiscale sample entropy (MMSE).

The agreement between the active system and a gold standard passive motion capture system was assessed on two components of rotational kinetic energy, rotational magnitude velocity and segment length, and on dynamic structure calculations. Two MFA actors (one male and one female) and a male professor of theater performed a total of 20 movement sequences, which were concurrently measured by the two systems.

The active motion capture system satisfactorily estimated dynamic movement in agreement with the passive system. It also estimated summary measures in high agreement with the passive system. Calculations of dynamic structure were in satisfactory agreement as well. Analyses of MMSE calculations from the active system data provided initial evidence that this process could characterize movement complexity as structural richness, perhaps describable as the body moving as a coherent whole over time. The instrumentation and data processing procedure described in this project can be used to validly measure dynamic movement in psychology. Limitations of the study and future directions in the research and methods are discussed.

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