Study: Why Some People Can’t Dance

Some people are able to dance without much effort at all, while others have two left feet, and now researchers think they know why not all people can dance. Western Sydney University researchers explain that the process of “neural entertainment,” or how the human brain locks onto rhythms in the external environment, supports the coordination of body movements. This occurs when sensory input, such as music with a clear beat, triggers periodic bursts of synchronized brain activity. Researchers measured the neural entertainment of participants by using EEG tests to monitor their neural activity as they listened to two different pieces of music. The results showed the strength of neural entertainment was related to people’s ability to move in synchrony with the beat. Those with strong neural responses were more accurate at tapping a finger in time with the beat of the two rhythms, meaning they could generate the beat internally. The others required physical stimulation to perceive the beat. Those who were good at internally generating beats also performed well on a task that required them to predict tempo changes in musical sequences. It’s not clear why individual differences in the strength of neural entertainment occur, but it might reflect the efficiency of neural responses at early levels of auditory processing, such as brainstem responses. (Daily Mail)