Saturday, April 16, 2022

Observation Report

Jane Doe

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

PSYC.1010: Introduction to Psychological Science

Student: John C Gibson

April 12, 2022


This study was a naturalistic observation of an individual of emerging adult age in a dance event in a political club's event hall on a Friday evening, which was open to the public, though with an age restriction of twenty-one years or older. During that event, the researcher made a covert, nonparticipant observation of the subject in the dance venue. During the forty-two-minute observation, the subject danced with seven different men and embraced each with friendliness and danced with body-to-body contacts. The subject seemed to gain high spirits when presenting elegant postures in difficult dance moves. The elegant postures were hypothesized to form life-long habits that would elevate mood for the subject.

Observation Report

The naturalistic observation was conducted near Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The female subject was approximately 25 years old and about 5 feet and 9 inches tall and about 140 pounds with average muscle mass. Her waistline was slightly narrower than her hipline. Her breasts were of average size, not particularly protruding nor particularly lean. The subject engaged in a body-to-body contact dance event. The female subject was pressumed heterosexual because she danced with seven different men and not with a single woman.


A female subject, Jane(a pseudonym), with facial features of far west Eurasian origin, was observed in this report. She had light hair with a slight red tone. The hair was tied to the back, and her entire forehead was shown clearly.  The subject wore a black tank top of nylon-silk material with a straight cut on the upper breast area, with thin straps over bare shoulders. The subject wore a pair of denim color tight trousers with a wool texture. The wool material appeared softer than jeans and comfortable for dancing. The subject wore a pair of sandal style high heels, about one and a half inches on the heels, and with black and silver straps. The subject wore a thin silver necklace that reflected lights under disco lighting. 

The setting was hosted in the Greek American Political Club of Cambridge Massachusetts. The dance floor was delimited by stanchions and ropes in the event hall forming a square area of approximately 50 feet wide and 50 feet deep. The disc jockey set up the sound equipment at the podium at the front of the hall. The researcher observed the female subject from the area between the podium and the stanchions and ropes, about 10 to 20 feet away from the subject. The dance music played was predominantly of Spanish origin, such as Vamos Gozar (Translation: “Lets Enjoy”) - By Orquesta Narvaez . The lyrics were also predominantly Spanish. The mood of the music was a mix of cheerful, such as Lo Que Paso Paso (Translation: What Happened Happened) - By Daddy Yankee, to seductive romantic, such as Mambo & Love Explicit - By D.J. Henrix. The demographic in the event were predominantly working immigrants of Central and South America origin. Participants of far west Eurasian or far east Eurasian origins were minorities. Participants of Sub-Saharan African origins were minorities. The lights were deemed to roughly the same darkness of a steakhouse restaurant. 

The observation activity took place on the Friday evening between 11:18 PM and 11:59 PM on the 11st of March in the spring break week of the spring semester of 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic subsided prior to the event, and no face masking was required for participation. About 5% of participants did wear face masks, though. At the entrance of the building, the security check required proof of complete vaccination of COVID-19, which assured participants the safety of the event. A picture of a CDC vaccination card shown on a large-screened phone with two shots of the Moderna vaccine was sufficient proof. The subject under observation was more easily identifiable than most other participants by the lighter skin tone, and hence the selection of this subject. The researcher noted the details of the subject and her behavior on a smartphone’s squibbling app, pretending to be texting with friends, to conceal the research activity. It was a regular occurrence for people in the dance event to use smartphones frequently, and the research activity did not raise any suspicion. The study subject was not aware of being observed. No videos or photographs were taken on the subject.


11:20 PM - The disc jockey plays the song Vamos Gozar (Translation: “Lets Enjoy”) - By Orquesta Narvaez . The tempo is 150 steps per minute, resembling the pacing of a busy work day in the service industry. Jane raises her right arm in the air, appearing as the Statue Of Liberty just before she crosses into her partner’s position. Her dance partner leads her to step across forward with one arm around her chest, so that Jane’s right hand had to make a blade shape in between her breasts to slide out of the narrow space between the man’s arm and her breast. The subsequent rising of her right hand animated a germinating flower with a blade shaped leaf growing and piercing into the sky. Jane’s blade-shaped hand flares outward when it reaches the top, appearing as the flame on the torch of the Statue Of Liberty.

Interpretation - According to arousal theory, Jane likely is motivated by the innate, intrinsic arousal needs to pace and dance, like most people do. But, the skill Jane displays, the stylized arm-raising while stepping in a complex dance pattern, likely is a result of dance lessons. The rising arm enlarges Jane’s physical geometry vertically. And, according to behavior feedback effect[1][2] theory, when Jane geometrically becomes taller and larger, she feels a sense of empowerment and reward. Jane’s emulation of the goddess of liberty symbolically states that she is larger than life - into the realm of the deities. In some dance class in the past, the reward of an elevated mood likely conditioned her to perform this act now.

11:34 PM - Jane has a third, different man lead her dance. The music slows down. The disc jockey plays the instrumental song Mambo & Love Explicit - By D.J. Henrix. The dance partner leads her to curl her left arm to form a “V” shape,  with Jane’s left hand placed on her right shoulder, appearing as a victory meme. There is a momentary pause of the music when she is led to step forward. So, her left foot steps forward, but her right foot stays behind - all while her body continues leaning forward. Her vulva perches on the man’s left thigh as they face each other, front-to-front, just as the music pauses. The man is similar in height to Jane with her high heels shoes on, and so the man’s crotch area pressed onto Jane’s lower belly simultaneously. The rhythm of the song is seductive and exotic, at 120 beats per minute.

Interpretation - At 120 beats per minute, the drum beats match the speed of human intercourse. The healthy male’s body and the sound of the music create the imagined stimuli[3], which likely motivates Jane to make the mutual sexual contact by the intrinsic need to mate. The man and Jane likely both had swelled genitals with the imagined stimuli, and Jane possibly sensed the erect penis. According to James-Lange’s theory of emotion, if Jane indeed has genital swelling and she does not back off from the engagement, her cognition must have labeled it as a positive emotion. According to the social facilitation theory, the onlookers’ gaze likely enhances the positive senses.

11:38 PM - Jane has a fourth man lead her dance. The song is Como Lo Hacia Yo (Translation: How He Did It) - Remix By Dj York & Dj Manuel Citro , with a tempo of 120 steps per minute. Jane pushes her chest forward and then curls her spine upward making a snake rising shape. The whole-body movement is precipitated by the lowering of the chest by the lead man embracing Jane from behind. However, the man fails to fill in the void on the front to meet her chest with any victory shaped arm or with any bracing. Jane continues her turns with the weaker lead man. 

Interpretation - in the absence of a very experienced man to lead her, Jane continues focusing on pushing her chest forward and upward. Jane likely has conditioned herself to gain the good feeling of being tall and well-being by maintaining good postures. However, social norms also likely motivate Jane to continue dancing with the weak lead man until the song ends. It is not common for any participants to abruptly stop dancing in the middle of a song and leave the partner. The extrinsic motivation for Jane to maintain acceptance in the dance venue likely prevented her from abruptly stopping dancing with the weak lead man. 


This study hypothesizes that emerging adults that participate in dances may perform better in public service careers by the similar schema in performing in public than the general population. Jane is hypothesized to be exercising mood modulation, even if she is not aware that the reinforcement is occurring. It is likely an operant conditioning, meaning that the elevated mood rewards the elegant postures when Jane feels her arousal level is low. According to behavior feedback effect[1][2] theory, when she raises her arm in the air to present a larger and taller geometry, she actually likely feels that she is taller and larger than life, and that the brain reward centers were likely activated by neurotransmitters. In the public dance floor, with many onlookers on the sideline, the social facilitation accelerates the conditioning. So, at 11:38PM, just 20 minutes into the observation, she appeared to have formed the habit of good postures in adverse situations with an inexperienced lead man. The result is that the statuesque postures she repeatedly practiced during dance likely form habits in professional life in a public setting. It is possible that, as Jane advances in her career path and personal life, the habits can ensure her well-being. The public service sector in the United State has niches for people of all origins. The military, which can be considered a public service, was the first professional career to be racially integrated. Ancestral background and gener likely do not significantly affect this career. 

The preceding proposed hypothesis is limited in research angles of purely correlational studies. The individual variations in response to posing sexual postures can be difficult to control. In the third snapshot of this observation, the weak dance partner pairing can greatly reduce the rewards. For experimental designs, the random selection of control and treatment groups can be difficult because the success of learning the dances is not guaranteed by giving dance lessons. According to social facilitation theory, if a person masters a particular act, the spotlight in public enhances the rush of neural reward activities, but if a person can’t master the dance, the public viewing of an awkward act simply brings down the person’s mood. For further research, however, the participation in dance lessons could possibly be traced by facebook dance company social links or dance lesson management software systems, such as . The participation in dance lessons likely creates stronger links in social networks by the algorithms in the platforms. It is possible to quantitatively measure the correlation between income and the stronger social links brought on by dance participation. And pay grade reflects the success and prestage in the public service sector.


[1] Myers, David G., and C. Nathan DeWall. Psychology. 31st ed., New York, Worth Publishers, 2021, p. 431.

[2] Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2015). Review and summary of research on the embodied effects of expansive (vs. contractive) nonverbal displays. Psychological Science, 26, 657–663.

[3] Myers, David G., and C. Nathan DeWall. Psychology. 31st ed., New York, Worth Publishers, 2021, p. 398.

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