Long night tearing up the dancefloor? Science says you can blame it on the bass.
The importance of bass as a factor in driving an electric musical atmosphere is certainly not lost on electronic music fans. However, for the first time, scientists begged the question: how much of one's reaction to bass is truly conscious?
The resulting study certainly solidified the idea that bass is an animating influence among concertgoers, concluding that they danced more as bass was introduced. However, as it turns out, researchers could drive clubbers to dance 12% more by the mere introduction of bass at an imperceptible frequency.
The breakthrough experiment took place at an Orphyx show in Canada, where half of the 130 attendees were equipped with motion-sensing headbands to capture their movements.
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McMaster University's David Cameron, a neuroscientist and leader of the study, concluded that the attendees subconsciously made changes to their movements based on the presence of bass.
Cameron believes that even though low levels of bass may not be consciously perceptible, the presence itself may activate other sensory systems in the body, including the skin or the inner ear, per Barron's.
Moreover, the innate human desire to react to rhythm, consciously or not, may be traced back to our desire to connect with one another. Low-end waves may take different forms depending on the culture or style of the music—or the instrument with which they are generated—but at its core, the goal of achieving rhythm and giving music its pulse remains constant.
"When you synchronize with people, you tend to feel bonded with them a little bit afterward. You feel good afterwards," Cameron said. "By making music together, that allows us to feel better together as a group, and then we function better as a group, and we can be more efficient, and we can have more peace."