The Benefits of Dance to the Brain

Researchers have found that dance develops vital human skills and reduces the risk of dementia. Brain researchers Steven Brown of Burnaby Simon Fraser University in Canada and Michael Martinez of the University of Texas conducted a study to determine which areas of the brain are activated by dancing. Five women and five men who all were professional tango dancers were invented to participate in this study and nuclear resonance tomography of their brain was done to get the results.

The Benefits of Dance to the Brain
The Benefits of Dance to the Brain

How Was the Research Done?

Special plates were attached to the soles of the feet of the dancers to allow their feet to slide and perform simple tango steps. Music was played through the headphones. In the first stage, the volunteers had to perform tango steps on the plate, in the second stage they had to move their legs in any way they want. The researchers noted that both areas of the brain that are responsible for motor skills were activated. However, tango steps also activated another area of the brain called the precuneus that is responsible for the general orientation. Sensors in muscles and joints transmit information to this particular area. Moreover, there is a so-called movement of the mind responsible for the navigation of the body, and this part is extremely strongly trained during the process of dancing.

This part responsible for the movement has been found to be closely related to other functions of the brain such as thinking, speaking, learning, and emotions, and as it develops, other brain abilities are developed to the maximum at the same moment. This research of tango has shown that people tend to clap, bend their heads, or trample their feet when the rhythmic music is playing. This is because the brain recognizes the rhythm and associates it with the knowledge it already has. Therefore, the more known the rhythm is, the more strongly is the impulse to the brain that provokes the movement.

What Is Better: Playing Music or Dancing?

It has been found that dancing activates the cerebellum of the brain, which remains passive without music. The cerebral vermicus is a neuronal beacon involved in the auditory, visual, somatosensory areas of the brain. The vestibular system of the inner ear and brain regulates the perception of balance, combining movement and rhythm. From the point of view of evolution, this confirms the hypothesis that dance and music in human history appeared at the same time. Dancing requires similar complex sensorimotor skills as learning to play with any musical instrument. However, dancing is more important for the development of human abilities than playing music as it develops the ability to imitate.

Dance has always been a form of communication. During the study, the Broca area that is responsible for speech and gesture perception was activated in the brains of all tango dancers. When this area is turned off, a person loses the ability to repeat movements. As a result, it is extremely important for imitation, learning, and ultimately for the transmission of common human being culture



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