In all ages and countries, music and dance have constituted a central part in human culture and communication. Recently, vocal-learning animals such as parrots and elephants have been found to share rhythmic ability with humans. Thus, we investigated the rhythmic synchronization of budgerigars, a vocal-mimicking parrot species, under controlled conditions and a systematically designed experimental paradigm as a first step in understanding the evolution of musical entrainment. We trained eight budgerigars to perform isochronous tapping tasks in which they pecked a key to the rhythm of audio-visual metronome-like stimuli. The budgerigars showed evidence of entrainment to external stimuli over a wide range of tempos. They seemed to be inherently inclined to tap at fast tempos, which have a similar time scale to the rhythm of budgerigars' natural vocalizations. We suggest that vocal learning might have contributed to their performance, which resembled that of humans.
Although recreational dancing is associated with increased physical and psychological well-being, little is known about the harmful effects of excessive dancing. The aim of the present study was to explore the psychopathological factors associated with dance addiction. The sample comprised 447 salsa and ballroom dancers (68% female, mean age: 32.8 years) who danced recreationally at least once a week. The Exercise Addiction Inventory (Terry, Szabo, & Griffiths, 2004) was adapted for dance (Dance Addiction Inventory, DAI). Motivation, general mental health (BSI-GSI, and Mental Health Continuum), borderline personality disorder, eating disorder symptoms, and dance motives were also assessed. Five latent classes were explored based on addiction symptoms with 11% of participants belonging to the most problematic class. DAI was positively associated with psychiatric distress, borderline personality and eating disorder symptoms. Hierarchical linear regression model indicated that Intensity (ß=0.22), borderline (ß=0.08), eating disorder (ß=0.11) symptoms, as well as Escapism (ß=0.47) and Mood Enhancement (ß=0.15) (as motivational factors) together explained 42% of DAI scores. Dance addiction as assessed with the Dance Addiction Inventory is associated with indicators of mild psychopathology and therefore warrants further research.
Our long-term goal is to enable a robot to engage in partner dance for use in rehabilitation therapy, assessment, diagnosis, and scientific investigations of two-person whole-body motor coordination. Partner dance has been shown to improve balance and gait in people with Parkinson’s disease and in older adults, which motivates our work. During partner dance, dance couples rely heavily on haptic interaction to convey motor intent such as speed and direction. In this paper, we investigate the potential for a wheeled mobile robot with a human-like upper-body to perform partnered stepping with people based on the forces applied to its end effectors. Blindfolded expert dancers (N=10) performed a forward/backward walking step to a recorded drum beat while holding the robot’s end effectors. We varied the admittance gain of the robot’s mobile base controller and the stiffness of the robot’s arms. The robot followed the participants with low lag (M=224, SD=194 ms) across all trials. High admittance gain and high arm stiffness conditions resulted in significantly improved performance with respect to subjective and objective measures. Biomechanical measures such as the human hand to human sternum distance, center-of-mass of leader to center-of-mass of follower (CoM-CoM) distance, and interaction forces correlated with the expert dancers' subjective ratings of their interactions with the robot, which were internally consistent (Cronbach’s α=0.92). In response to a final questionnaire, 1/10 expert dancers strongly agreed, 5/10 agreed, and 1/10 disagreed with the statement “The robot was a good follower.” 2/10 strongly agreed, 3/10 agreed, and 2/10 disagreed with the statement “The robot was fun to dance with.” The remaining participants were neutral with respect to these two questions.
Four experiments tested the novel hypothesis that ritualistic behavior potentiates and enhances ensuing consumption-an effect found for chocolates, lemonade, and even carrots. Experiment 1 showed that participants who engaged in ritualized behavior, compared with those who did not, evaluated chocolate as more flavorful, valuable, and deserving of behavioral savoring. Experiment 2 demonstrated that random gestures do not boost consumption as much as ritualistic gestures do. It further showed that a delay between a ritual and the opportunity to consume heightens enjoyment, which attests to the idea that ritual behavior stimulates goal-directed action (to consume). Experiment 3 found that performing a ritual oneself enhances consumption more than watching someone else perform the same ritual, suggesting that personal involvement is crucial for the benefits of rituals to emerge. Finally, Experiment 4 provided direct evidence of the underlying process: Rituals enhance the enjoyment of consumption because of the greater involvement in the experience that they prompt.
Our knowledge of neural plasticity suggests that neural networks show adaptation to environmental and intrinsic change. In particular, studies investigating the neuroplastic changes associated with learning and practicing motor tasks have shown that practicing such tasks results in an increase in neural activation in several specific brain regions. However, studies comparing experts and non-experts suggest that experts employ less neuronal activation than non-experts when performing a familiar motor task. Here, we aimed to determine the long-term changes in neural networks associated with learning a new dance in professional ballet dancers over 34 weeks. Subjects visualized dance movements to music while undergoing fMRI scanning at four time points over 34-weeks. Results demonstrated that initial learning and performance at seven weeks led to increases in activation in cortical regions during visualization compared to the first week. However, at 34 weeks, the cortical networks showed reduced activation compared to week seven. Specifically, motor learning and performance over the 34 weeks showed the typical inverted-U-shaped function of learning. Further, our result demonstrate that learning of a motor sequence of dance movements to music in the real world can be visualized by expert dancers using fMRI and capture highly significant modeled fits of the brain network variance of BOLD signals from early learning to expert level performance.
Even as demand for their services increases, honey bees (Apis mellifera) and other pollinating insects continue to decline in Europe and North America. Honey bees face many challenges, including an issue generally affecting wildlife: landscape changes have reduced flower-rich areas. One way to help is therefore to supplement with flowers, but when would this be most beneficial? We use the waggle dance, a unique behaviour in which a successful forager communicates to nestmates the location of visited flowers, to make a 2-year survey of food availability. We “eavesdropped” on 5097 dances to track seasonal changes in foraging, as indicated by the distance to which the bees as economic foragers will recruit, over a representative rural-urban landscape. In year 3, we determined nectar sugar concentration. We found that mean foraging distance/area significantly increase from springs (493 m, 0.8 km2) to summers (2156 m, 15.2 km2), even though nectar is not better quality, before decreasing in autumns (1275 m, 5.1 km2). As bees will not forage at long distances unnecessarily, this suggests summer is the most challenging season, with bees utilizing an area 22 and 6 times greater than spring or autumn. Our study demonstrates that dancing bees as indicators can provide information relevant to helping them, and, in particular, can show the months when additional forage would be most valuable.
Narrative therapy (White & Epston, 1990) was developed as an approach to counselling, as a response to the power relations that influence people’s lives. Its use with people who stutter has been documented. A basic tenet of narrative therapy is that the dominant problem-saturated narrative is challenged by externalizing the problem, in due course facilitating development of an alternative narrative. Within this process, the definitional ceremony involving outsider witnesses is a key procedure used to influence change.
According to classical sexual selection theory, complex multimodal courtship displays have evolved in males through female choice. While it is well-known that socially monogamous songbird males sing to attract females, we report here the first example of a multimodal dance display that is not a uniquely male trait in these birds. In the blue-capped cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus), a socially monogamous songbird, both sexes perform courtship displays that are characterised by singing and simultaneous visual displays. By recording these displays with a high-speed video camera, we discovered that in addition to bobbing, their visual courtship display includes quite rapid step-dancing, which is assumed to produce vibrations and/or presumably non-vocal sounds. Dance performances did not differ between sexes but varied among individuals. Both male and female cordon-bleus intensified their dance performances when their mate was on the same perch. The multimodal (acoustic, visual, tactile) and multicomponent (vocal and non-vocal sounds) courtship display observed was a combination of several motor behaviours (singing, bobbing, stepping). The fact that both sexes of this socially monogamous songbird perform such a complex courtship display is a novel finding and suggests that the evolution of multimodal courtship display as an intersexual communication should be considered.
Ballet dancers require a high level of postural balance (PB) and proprioception ability during performance. As textured insoles inserted into ballet shoes were found to improve proprioception ability, and better proprioceptive acuity was associated with better PB, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether the association between ankle inversion movement discrimination (AIMD) and PB changed following wearing textured insoles in young male and female dancers.
Despite common assumptions that doctors are well placed to lead hospitals and healthcare organisations, the peer-reviewed literature contains little evidence on the performance of doctors in leadership roles in comparison with that of non-medical managers.