The effect of hip-hop dance training on neural response to emotional stimuli

Hiroomi Sensui, Toshiya Nagamatsu, Atsushi Senoo, Reiko Miyamoto, Madoka Noriuchi, Toshihiko Fujimoto, Yoshiaki Kikuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Many studies demonstrate that exercise improves mental health. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this improvement remain unclear. In the present study, we examined the effect of hip-hop dance training on neural response to emotional stimuli using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in healthy young adults. Twenty-two university students who did not regularly exercise were assigned to either the training group (7 men and 4 women) or the control group (5 men and 6 women). The training group performed short-term hip-hop dance training, consisting of a 60-min class 3 times per week for 3 weeks. The control group maintained their normal daily activity. Acquisition of fMRI was performed while the participants viewed pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral slides pre- and post-training. The contrasts of pleasant vs. neutral and unpleasant vs. neutral were calculated, and activity changes between the pre- and post-training periods were compared between the two groups. As a result, hip-hop dance training increased brain activity in the posterior parietal and occipital cortices, for both the pleasant and unpleasant emotional stimuli, suggesting that the training facilitated visual attention. Moreover, increased activity was observed in the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and insula specifically for pleasant emotional stimuli, suggesting empathetic understanding of pleasant emotion, whereas no activity increase occurred in regions related to emotion generation for unpleasant emotional stimuli. These changes may be associated with psychological benefits of exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of the Physical Fitness Research Institute
Issue number114
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr


  • Exercise
  • Imaging
  • Mental health
  • Neural substrate
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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