Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It’s the rhythm of your life says Japanese researcher Professor Hideaki Soya. In the study published in Scientific Reports, Soya and his team revealed that groove music can significantly increase measures of executive function and associated brain activity in participants who are familiar with the music.
Soya and his team from the University of Tsukuba recently found that music with a little groove can enhance brain functions including thinking and learning. He believes these findings could lead to new strategies for enhancing cognitive functions and even creating accessible enriched exercise programmes.
Music that elicits the sensation of a groove can elicit feelings of pleasure and enhance behavioural arousal levels, says Soya.
Exercise, which has similar positive effects, is known to enhance executive function. Accordingly, this may also be an effect of listening to groove music.
To do this, the researchers conducted a survey about the subjective experience of listening to groove music.
“The results were surprising,” explains Soya. “We found that groove rhythm enhanced executive function and activity in participants who reported that the music elicited a strong groove sensation and the sensation of being clear-headed.”
There is power in dance
Strategies for enhancing executive function have a wide range of potential applications, from preventing dementia in elderly people to helping employees enhance their performance, says Soya.
“Our findings indicate that individual differences in psychological responses to groove music modulate the corresponding effects on executive function. As such, the effects of groove rhythm on human cognitive performance may be influenced by familiarity or beat processing ability.”
Furthermore, the positive effects of this type of music on executive function could include the effects of positive emotions and rhythmic synchronisation.
“This could help to explain the many positive benefits of dancing, or any form of exercise conducted while listening to music. Further research is needed to develop applications for this new information.”