Tuesday, 9 December 2008

And all this time I should've been dancing

In a blatant attempt at being down-with-the-kids, the American Association for the Advancement of Science launched this science dance contest in which entrants posted their offerings on YouTube.

Quote from the AAAS "the human body is an excellent medium for communicating science--perhaps not as data-rich as a peer-reviewed article, but far more exciting".

In the video, Miriam Sach from the University of Dusseldorf communicates "Cerebral activation patterns induced by inflection of regular and irregular verbs with positron emission tomography. A comparison between single subject and group analysis" via the medium of dance.

The research showed that irregular and regular verbs are processed in the same parts of the brain rather than by specialised cortical areas.

As if it wasn't obvious, here is a guide to how Miriam's research findings are represented within the dance...

This piece is subdivided into 3 sections: 1.) Introduction of regular verbs, 2.) Introduction of irregular verbs, 3.) Common neural network of regular and irregular verb inflection.
1.) Regular verbs are represented by the walking at the very beginning of this piece.
The walking is simple, straight forward and without irregularities. It is accompanied by the sound of crackling fire a metaphor for the firing neurons.
2.) In contrast, irregular verbs are represented by a huge variety of different movements: jumps, slides, turns, rolls, level changes. Irregularities are also displayed musically by using syncopes and off-beat emphasis in percussion as well as further changes in instruments.
3.) The sound of the falling rain is a cleansing moment with no movements to introduce the final section of the dance: the common neural network of regular and irregular verb processing. It is the first time that symmetrical movements occur to emphasize the common network for both verb forms. In addition, both regular and irregular movements are shown to elucidate the presence of both entities in this network.
Overall, fiber connections in the brain representing the connections between regular and irregular verbs are shown by wavy arm movements.

I like this because everybody loves a good dance, and yet so often, as a medium, it is wasted on the communication of simple concepts* such as "OMG I totally love this song", "I want to sex you up" or "I'm a jet and you're a shark, let's have a bloody good fight".

More of this please.

*Although bees have got the right idea - wiggling their stripey little asses to communicate the precise location of particularly juicy flowers. 10 points to the bees.


james henry said...

Man, I totally would have passed my science GCSE if I could have danced it.

Karen's Mouth said...

Frankly I feel this could revolutionise GCSE science. And solve the whole childhood obesity thing at the same time. It's a win win situation.

Allison said...

What a great idea!

I also love your header, as still scares me. ;) Its from your last blog, yes?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You should have entered an abstract of you dancing in that Nick Cave video! You would have taken first place.

Karen's Mouth said...

Allison: Yes! It is Christmas after all...

Barb: Ha! Not sure what the title of THAT particular piece of research would be! Probably best not to speculate too much!