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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Toward an Understanding of the Performing Artist: A Study of Actors and Dancers

The dissertation examines the actor and dancer from the perspective of the type of creativity research conducted by the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at University of California at Berkeley over the prior four decades. 1500 written questionnaires were given to a population of noted and famous actors and dancers, working professional actors and dancers (Broadway, film, dance companies) and student actors and dancers. 464 responded by taking the questionnaire (some of the other famous ones preferred spontaneous interviews or submitted written viewpoints which informed the research in other ways): Famous 16, Working Pros 259, Students 187. The questionnaire included items from the IPAR interviews given to artists in other fields, Helsons Childhood Activity Checklist, Goughs Adjective Checklist, and Fitzgeralds Experience Inquiry. Overall, the research established its immediate goal to place the study of performers within the mainstream of the psychological study of creativity. It has also been successful in providing some understanding of the qualities of performing artists and how these qualities intersect with the art of performing, and in providing some insight into the complex relationship between performers and society.
This thesis is partly available in a book: Author(s): Ed. Glenn D. Wilson Name of book: Psychology and Performing Arts (excerpts from dissertation presented in a chapter 'Toward an Understanding of the Performing Artist' 1991 Publisher: Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam/Lisse