Culture influences dance moves, finds study

Culture influences dance moves, finds study

While a German  might think in terms of “step to the left, step to the right”, a nomadic hunter-gatherer from Namibia will think more in terms of “step to the east, step to the west”.

According to the German researchers, those differences aren’t just a matter of language; but they reflect differences in the way the human mind encodes.

“The human mind varies more across cultures than we generally assume,” said lead researcher Daniel Haun. The researchers compared children in two cultures - Germans and Akhoe Haikom, a semi-nomadic tribe in Namibia.

They asked the children to learn a short dance, during which they move their hands from one side of their body to the other in a right-left-right-right sequence. Then, the participants were rotated 180 degrees around their own axis, and asked to dance again.

German children almost always moved their hands to their right-left -right-right, regardless of which direction they were facing. However, Haikom children switched the direction of their movements, from right-left-right-right to left-right- left-left, depending on which way they were facing at the time, research revealed.

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