HomeLifestyleEntertainmentPlaying Low-frequency Bass Lures 12% More Clubbers Onto The Dance Floor

Playing Low-frequency Bass Lures 12% More Clubbers Onto The Dance Floor

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It appears that turning up bass levels that are too low to hear increases people’s dancing by about 12%.

“Music is a biological curiosity—it doesn’t reproduce us, it doesn’t feed us, and it doesn’t shelter us, so why do humans like it and why do they like to move to it?”

Researchers used a live electronic music event as the subject of a lab experiment to learn how various parts of music affect the body. Researchers observed that when extremely low-frequency bass was played through inaudible speakers, participants danced 11.8% more than usual. The research was published in the academic journal Current Biology today.

First author Daniel Cameron (@Dan Cameron), a neurologist at McMaster University, says, “I’m trained as a drummer, and most of my research career has been focused on the rhythmic aspects of music and how they make us move. 

“Music is a biological curiosity—it doesn’t reproduce us, it doesn’t feed us, and it doesn’t shelter us, so why do humans like it and why do they like to move to it?”

Cameron is a researcher at McMaster’s LIVELab, a one-of-a-kind research theater that merges the worlds of science and live performance. It has a Meyer sound system that can simulate different concert situations, 3D motion capture technology, and improved speakers that can produce incredibly low frequencies that are imperceptible to the human ear.

Cameron and his colleagues asked people who went to a LIVELab concert by the electronic music duo Orphx to take part in the Current Biology study. To keep tabs on their dancing, the concertgoers wore headbands with motion sensors. They also had to complete surveys both before and after the event. These forms were used to check that the sound was undetected, gauge audience delight, and assess the bodily effects of the music.

During the 45-minute concert, the researchers turned on and off the speakers that played very low bass every two minutes. When the speakers were on, they discovered that there was a 12 percent increase in movement.

According to Cameron, the artists were eager to take part because they were intrigued by the notion that bass may alter how music is perceived in a way that affects movement. 

“The study had high ecological validity, as this was a real musical and dance experience for people at a real live show.”

The motor system is closely connected to how we feel vibrations through touch and how the inner ear and brain talk to each other. The brain link between music and movement, according to the researchers, may be mediated by these physical processes. The feeling of “groove,” spontaneous movement, and rhythm perception can all be impacted by this anatomy’s ability to pick up on low frequencies.

“Very low frequencies may also affect vestibular sensitivity, adding to people’s experience of movement. Nailing down the brain mechanisms involved will require looking the effects of low frequencies on the vestibular, tactile, and auditory pathways,” adds Cameron.

Source: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.09.035

Image Credit: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

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