Electronic music fans are familiar with the drill: as soon as the DJ cranks up the bass, the crowd breaks into a wild dance. But how much of this response is consciously chosen?
Thanks to an experiment carried out during a real-world electronic music concert, researchers have looked more closely at the connection between bass frequencies and dancing.
The findings, which were released on Monday in the journal Current Biology, revealed that when researchers used a very low-frequency bass, which dancers could not hear, participants danced almost 12 percent more.
Neuroscientist David Cameron of McMaster University, who oversaw the study, told that although the subjects “couldn’t tell when those changes occurred, it was driving their movements.”
The findings support the unique bond between bass and dance, which has never been proven scientifically.
The bass is often turned up very loud at electronic music concerts, according to Cameron, a trained drummer, because concertgoers “love when they can feel the bass so strong.”
They are not, though, alone.
The low-frequency instruments, such as the bass guitar or the bass drum, “tend to be the low-frequency instruments that give the pulse of the music” in many cultures and traditions around the world.
“What we didn’t know is whether bass can actually encourage people to dance more.” “Cameron,” said.
The test was conducted in Canada, in a structure called LIVElab that doubled as a research lab and concert venue.
Approximately 60 of the 130 people at an Orphyx concert were given motion-sensing headbands to keep an eye on their dancing.
Researchers intermittently turned on and off speakers that produced very low bass during the concert.
The sound was unheard, according to a survey that concertgoers completed. This made it possible for researchers to focus on the effect of the bass and ignore other elements, such as dancers’ reactions to a catchy section of a song.