Medical Mysteries of Music

Want people to dance more to your music? Here’s a just-discovered secret

The relationship between music and various parts of our brains and body is wonderful and mysterious, which is why scientists are always looking for more connections. Here’s the latest.

According to a new study in the journal Current Biology, researchers determined that undetectable, inaudible, very low-frequency vibrations (VLFs) in music can make people dance more. Apparently, these specific vibrations set alight certain pathways within the brain related to the reward and pleasure centres. The more you absorb your frequencies, the more you dance because the dancing makes you feel good. And it all happens without your knowledge.

Trials took place at an EDM show. A VLF speaker was switched on and off as people danced. The dancers’ movements were tracked by motion-capture headbands. When the VLF speaker was off, the level of dancing was…okay. Switch it on and people lost their minds.

VLFs prompted the brain to create more dopamine, the body’s feel-good hormone. Or it could be that VLFs hammer away at our mirror neurons, which get activated when we imitate another person doing something. (Think the urger to yawn when you see someone else do it.) When you’re hit with VLFs and you see someone dance, then you unconciously want to dance, too.

Read more here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38430 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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