This study compares the effect of dance on affect and cognition to music or exercise in a young non-clinical population. Participants were asked to complete tests of mood and creativity before and after spending 5 min either listening to music dancing cycling or sitting quietly. Both dancing and passively listening to music enhanced positive affect decreased negative affect and reduced feelings of fatigue. Cycling and sitting quietly had no effect on positive mood or feelings of fatigue. Moreover dancing and passively listening to music had dissociable effects on different aspects of creativity with greater change in positive affect being associated with greater enhancement in measures of verbal and non-verbal creativity respectively. We suggest that these findings support the use of either short duration dancing or passively listening to music as potentially powerful tools in enhancing emotional well-being and different aspects of divergent thinking in non-clinical settings.
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