Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna C. Owens


The effects of movement on neurodevelopment have been studied by many in both the psychology and neuroscience fields. However, there is a lack of research into the specific ways in which movement is being used to affect neurodevelopment and which specific types of movement most benefit neurodevelopment. This study aims to bridge that gap in the literature by investigating how movement impacts neurological development in infants aged 0-3. Research was pulled from peer reviewed journals using Lesley Library, Syracuse University Library, and Google Scholar and synthesized into four key categories: neurodevelopment in infants aged 0-3, impacts of experience and culture on development, movement and neurodevelopment, and dance/movement therapy to facilitate neurodevelopment. The research showed that ages 0–3 are a key period for neurodevelopment across all developmental domains, and that culture and experiences in infancy play a large role in infant development in both direct and indirect ways. Researchers found exercise increases brain derived neurotrophic factor and other brain growth factors key in neurodevelopment. Although research agrees that movement positively impacts neurodevelopment, there is a debate regarding what specific types of movement most efficiently achieve this purpose. Dance therapy is a comprehensive medium for encouraging neurodevelopment through movement. Further research into which specific types of movement are most effective in increasing Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and other growth factors is needed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License




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