Group Dancing Raises Opioid Neuropeptides, Elevates Pain Threshold in Participants

A study entitled “Synchrony and exertion during dance independently raise pain threshold and encourage social bonding” concludes that group dancing, especially to energetic beats such as Gangnam Style, the international hit song released in 2012 by the South Korean rapper Psy. is positively related to enhanced social bonding, and to enhanced pain management. The researchers, from the Department of Experimental Psychology and the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford, hypothesize that the activity contributes to increased release of endorphins by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. The findings were published last week in the journal Biology Letters.

The researchers observed 300 Brazilian teenagers engaged in individual and group dancing, to different types of music, and choreographed to varying dance moves. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing their level of social connection and their experiences of pain. Responses suggest that dance involving both exertive and synchronized movement “…demonstrated significant independent positive effects on pain threshold (a proxy for endorphin activation) and in-group bonding.”

A news summary of the findings may be read here.

The research article may be read here.




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