Dancers really are different than the average human. In a study published in the American Journal, Public Library of Science Genetics, Psychology Prof. Richard P. Ebstein, head of the Hebrew University Psychology Department’s Scheinfeld Center for Human Genetics in the Social Sciences and his research associates have shown, through DNA examination, that dancers show consistent differences in two key genes from the general population.
Consistent differences were noted in these two key genes: genes that provide the code for the serotonin transporter and arginine vasopressin receptor 1a. Both genes are involved in the transmission of information between nerve cells. The serotonin transporter regulates the level of serotonin, a brain transmitter that contributes to spiritual experience and feelings of well-being, among other behavioral traits. The vasopressin receptor has been shown in many animal studies to modulate social communication and bonding behaviors.
Dancers were compared with athletes as well as those who were both non-dancers and non-athletes. (Athletes were chosen for comparison since they require a good deal of physical stamina like dancers.)
When the results were combined and analyzed, it was clearly shown that the dancers exhibited particular genetic and personality characteristics that were not found in the other two groups. The dancer ‘type’, says Ebstein, clearly demonstrates qualities that are not necessarily lacking but are not expressed as strongly in other people: a heightened sense of communication, often of a symbolic and ceremonial nature, and a strong spiritual personality trait.
The obvious question remains: will science soon prove that dance makes humans happier and more cooperative? If so, it might just be America’s next big thing. Which might not be such a bad thing, after all.
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