Dancers and Fast Ball Players Have Different Electrical Brain Activity.

Dancers and Fast Ball Players Have Different Electrical Brain Activity.


Physical exercise has been long known to benefit both our physical health and cognition. Most of us would presume that different physical exercise that require the same amount of physical efforts would therefore benefit cognition to the same extend. For instance if a professional ballet dancer and a professional footballer were to spend the same number of hours practicing their chosen profession everyday they should gain equally from their occupations.

A wide variety of factors have been suggested and proven to influence human cognition among these are genetics and environmental factors. One of the most dominant environmental factors is exercise which benefits children, adults and cognitively impaired adults all at the cognitive level.

A recent study investigated brain activity in a number of different sporting and physically active professions. The study found that there were different electrical brain oscillation activity in different physical occupations during training.  Professional dancers had significantly higher alpha and beta amplitudes in the alpha band than any non-dancer groups. Those who worked in occupations that involved fast ball sports such as baseball and football had higher delta and theta frequency activities than non-fast ball occupations.

The results of this study are interesting in that they show that the differences in brain electrical activity may result from the innate neural network differences that determine the unique talents that are required for different physical occupations. The extensive training for physically demanding professions may therefore induce considerable plastic changes in the brain that result in a unique neural electrical pattern.

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Daniel Edgcumbe

I am studying towards my PhD in cognitive neuroscience at a leading London university

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