BackgroundAlthough the association of human temperament and preference has been studied previously, few investigations have examined cerebral cortical activation to assess brain dynamics associated with the motivation to engage in performance. The present study adopted a personality and cognitive neuroscience approach to investigate if participation in ballroom dancing is associated with sensation-seeking temperament and elevated cerebral cortical arousal during freely chosen musical recall.
MethodsPreferred tempo, indicated by tapping speed during melodic recall, and a measure of fundamental disposition or temperament were assessed in 70 ballroom dancers and 71 nondancers. All participants completed a trait personality inventory (i.e., the Chen Huichang 60 Temperaments Inventory) to determine four primary types: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. Participants separately recalled their favorite musical piece and tapped to it with their index finger for 40 beats using a computer keyboard. A subset of 59 participants (29 ballroom dancers and 30 nondancers) also repeated the same tapping task while electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded.
ResultsThe results revealed that the dancers were more extraverted, indicative of a heightened need for arousal, exhibited a preference for faster musical tempo, and exhibited elevated EEG beta power during the musical recall task relative to nondancers. Paradoxically, dancers also showed elevated introversion (i.e., melancholic score) relative to nondancers, which can be resolved by consideration of interactional personality theory if one assumes reasonably that dance performance environment is perceived in a stimulating manner.
ConclusionThe results are generally consistent with arousal theory, and suggest that ballroom dancers seek elevated stimulation and, thereby, choose to engage with active and energetic rhythmic auditory stimulation, thus providing the nervous system with the requisite stimulation for desired arousal. These results also suggest an underlying predisposition for engagement in ballroom dance and support the gravitational hypothesis, which propose that personality traits and perception lead to the motivation to engage in specific forms of human performance.
SUBMITTER: Jin X