Your Dance Moves Could Reveal Your Personality According to Science

Posted by Tina Lee-Almazar on

Think you're not revealing much with those moves on the dancefloor other than your fantastic sense of rhythm, flexibility, and coordination? Think again! A study showed just how dancing reveals your real personality. 

Researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland gave participants personality tests before observing how they dance to different music types. Their movements were assessed using motion capture technology, and the data is quite revealing.

Over 60 volunteers were assessed by researchers selected from 900 people who completed the personality tests. The participants were chosen because of their strong scores in one of the five main personality traits studied. 

Thirty different tracks were played, spanning six different music genres: rock, techno, Latin, jazz, funk, and pop.

They found that: 

Extroverts

Extroverts moved their bodies around the most. They tend to move around the dance floor with gusto, complete with exaggerated movements, head and arm jerking, the whole nine yards. According to researchers, extroverts are quite expressive with their emotions, mostly positive; that’s why they make exaggerated movements. They crave stimulation by shaking their thang on the dance floor.

Neurotic 

Neurotic participants tend to make jerky, sharp movements with their hands and feet. The movements are similar to shuffling - a dance move that we often see in weddings and clubs. Neurotic people like to keep their personal space too. The jerky movements are perceived as a sign of anxiety. Neurotic individuals do not dance as much as other personalities, and the movements exhibited by the hands, head, feet, and torso are limited to a spot on the dance floor. 

People with “agreeable personalities” tend to make “smoother” dance moves. They move around the dance floor side to side while swinging their hands. 

Open-minded individuals make rhythmic, up, and down movements. They don’t move around the dance floor a lot, instead choosing one spot to bob up and down.

Dutiful or “conscientious” individuals are all over the place. They move a lot on the dance floor and swing their arms over larger distances than other dancers. 

According to Dr. Geoff Luck of the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, the scientist who led the research, the music evokes strong emotions. These emotions can be expressed through bodily movements. 

“People use body motions as reliable indicators of others' personality types, and even the movements of robots have been shown to elicit attributes of 'personality' by observers.”

Music Connects with Certain Character Traits

Apart from revealing the participants’ personality traits through dance, the tests also show that they were drawn to certain music. Extroverts appear to love rock music the most; there were many head-banging and exaggerated movements when rock music was played. 

Open-minded individuals love techno music; they made more rhythmical limb movements than anyone else when techno music played during the tests. On the other hand, conscientious individuals made smaller, jerkier movements when listening to techno music.

Those with an agreeable personality moved more confidently when Latin music was played. Neurotic participants seem to have relaxed once rock music was played. They still made small, nervous movements, but the music made them come out of their shell.

What is your personality? Just turn on the music and start dancing! You might not be aware of how much you’re revealing about your personality every time you hit the dance floor!