There might be a scientific reason why you can’t dance

12 Nov 2014

Researchers at McGill University and the University of Montreal have discovered a rare condition could explain why you (yes you!) can’t dance.

According to the new research, people who are beat deaf have problems synchronising with sounds they hear, meaning they struggle to tap their heel in rhythm or clap along to music.

“We examined beat tracking, the ability to find a regular pulse and move with it, in individuals who complained of difficulty following a beat in everyday activities, such as listening to music and dancing,” said McGill psychology professor Caroline Palmer.

Researchers compared two beat deaf individuals with 32 control participants. No disparity was shown when the group was asked to tap evenly in silence, ruling out a general motor deficit. However, once music was applied, the duo struggled.
“We found that these beat-deaf individuals were able to perceive different rhythms and tap a regular beat in the absence of sound, similarly to control group members,” said Palmer. “Only when they had to move with the beat did we see a deficit, compared with the control group.”

Scroll down to view Palmer discussing the research in a video released by McGill University. But first, let’s enjoy some of our favourite potentially beat deaf people in gifs.

Dancer image via Shutterstock

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic