Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


People are living longer. Hence, the global population of older adults is increasing. Likewise, the population of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, and general cognitive decline is also growing and is expected to double within the next ten years. This literature review examines the effects of exercise, movement, and creative cognition seeking a positive connection to improvement in an individual’s brain function, cognitive abilities, and synaptic plasticity while focusing on their relation to memory recall abilities. It is suggested that exercise and movement increases a chemical within the brain that is involved with memory recall and increased synaptic firing. Additionally, creative cognition utilizes multiple networks within the brain indicating greater opportunities for boosting cognitive abilities. One of these systems is directly involved in the storage and retrieval of episodic memories. Creative thinking has been found to improve the coping, adaptability, and flexibility of older adults’ everyday problem-solving skills; thereby, implying it elevates quality of life. Dance/movement therapy combines creative cognition and movement, as well as treats the whole person. Therefore, through neurological, physiological, and psychological lenses, dance/movement therapy is presented as a beneficial and all-encompassing intervention to use with older adults to improve their recall abilities, engage their working memory, maintain synaptic plasticity, and increase quality of life.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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