Classical ballet has been linked to increased wisdom by a new study.
The research also confirmed that many varieties of meditation are linked to greater wisdom.
The link, the researcher shows, is down to how meditation reduces anxiety.
Dr Patrick B. Williams, the study’s first author, said:
“We are the first to show an association between wisdom, on the one hand, and mental and somatic practice, on the other.
We’re also the first to suggest that meditation’s ability to reduce everyday anxiety might partially explain this relationship.”
The meditators in the study performed different types of meditation, including:
Those who practised classical ballet were included in the study almost on a whim.
The results showed that people performing all the different forms of meditation had greater wisdom.
Those practising ballet did not have as high levels as the meditators.
Still, the more ballet they did, the higher their levels of wisdom.
Dr Monika Ardelt, a wisdom researcher who was not involved with the project, said:
“That meditation is associated with wisdom is good to confirm, but the finding that the practice of ballet is associated with increased wisdom is fascinating.
I’m not going to rush out and sign up for ballet, but I think this study will lead to more research on this question.”
Professor Howard Nusbaum, one of the study’s authors, said:
“As we learn more about the kinds of experiences that are related to wisdom, we can gain insight into ways of studying the mechanisms that mediate wisdom.
This also lets us shift from thinking about wisdom as something like a talent to thinking about it as something more like a skill.
And if we think about wisdom as a skill, it is something we can always get better at, if we know how to practice.”
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Williams et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Network brain image from Shutterstock