Next time someone calls you an animal on the dance floor, you can thank thousands of years of evolution. Humans are hardwired to sing and dance. Doing so serves as both a mating call and demonstration of our own sexual availability. It also gets us horny.
Music is the combination of audio frequencies and intricate patterns. Much like our eyes process light, ears process waves of sound and trigger a state of excitement and pleasure. This arousal causes people’s eyes to dilate, blood pressure to increase, and the brain to fire off in auditory, movement and emotional regions. Our emotional response triggers the release of dopamine, giving us a natural high that is addictive.
Our animal side shows in songs about sex and our love of musicians (Women are more likely to give their phone numbers to men carrying a guitar case than one carrying a sports bag). In recent years, musicians have moved away from coyly hinting at sex and become much more blatant. The human mating call has become a literal advertisement for the size of a rap star’s penis or the way a female pop star can help you keep it up all night.
Dance co-evolved as a way to revel in the dopamine high and act as a human mating call. A good dancer is coordinated, symmetrical and rhythmic – the same qualities needed for early humans’ survival. Dancing in today’s era demonstrates youth, confidence, good health, and fearlessness – all qualities highly prized by the opposite sex. In most animals, it’s the male that dances to impress the female. Human females reported men who can twist, bend, and fluidly move are sexy. The best dancers show variability, flexibility and creativity. Think Usher. The worst are repetitive, rigid and twitchy, also known as “Dad Dancing”.
Modern music videos combine singing about sexual prowess and smooth dance moves into an irresistible dopamine and hormonal punch to the face: MATE WITH ME NOW (Funny story: Female pop stars do it better). No word on why a pole makes dancing better.
BBC Planet Earth – Birds of Paradise Mating Dance vs. Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines