Speaking on The Academic Minute, a production of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Associate Professor of Music Berthold Hoeckner discusses research on wisdom and how being in tune with both mind and body can promote it. The primary goal of the research was to shed light on whether or not everyday, practical wisdom is something that can be trained as a skill.
To that end, Berthold’s research looked at people engaged in various practices and attempted to measure their wisdom. They studied people who meditate regularly as an example of the effects of promoting a mind-body connection, and people using the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method to look at the effects of practices more aligned towards the goals of physical therapy. Practitioners of classical ballet were also surveyed as a control group where there was no hypothesized link to wisdom.
The results of the research did indeed find that meditation was linked to wisdom, but the link did not hold up when looking at the Alexander Technique or the Feldenkrais Method. Contrary to the researchers' initial assumptions, wisdom was also linked to practicing ballet. Speaking about his results, Berthold said on The Academic Minute:
Ballet experience appeared to be making dancers wiser, but not through the same path. Perhaps dancers, through years of rigorous physical and mental training, develop a heightened sensitivity to their bodies, cultivating a more sensitive ‘gut’ feeling and the decisions that lead to greater well-being.
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