The analgesic effects of dancing in synch (study)

Can dancing to PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ in sync with other dancers act as a kind of ‘analgesic ’ – by raising your threshold to pain? A 2016 research project from the Department of Experimental Psychology, at the University of Oxford, UK, suggested that the answer might be ‘Yes’.

A suite of somewhat painful [*see notes] experiments with 94 participants from Oxford showed that :

“ […] synchronising full-body dance movements increased strangers’ self-reported feelings of social closeness to one another and elevated pain thresholds. These effects arose when participants synchronised with each other and the music, rather than merely with the music.”

See: Silent disco: dancing in synchrony leads to elevated pain thresholds and social closeness in Evolution & Human Behavior, September 2016, Volume 37, Issue 5, Pages 343–349. A full copy of which may be found here.

Notes ;

[1] The study didn’t examine any possible differences in analgesic properties of the various music tracks used in the experiments – which were :

“ ‘I feel so close to you right now’ by Calvin Harris; ‘Lady Marmalade’ by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink; ‘Memories’ by David Guetta feat Kid Cudi; ‘Merengue’ unknown artist; ‘Wake me up before you Go – Go’ by Wham!; ‘Gangnam style’ by Psy; ‘Sexy and I know it’ by LMFAO; ‘Little Bad Girl’ by David Guetta.”

[2] “Pain threshold was measured by inducing ischemic pain through the inflation of a blood pressure cuff on the participant’s upper arm and noting the pressure sustained”

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