Signals through music and dance: Perceived social bonds and formidability on collective movement

Stewart, Lauren; Harin, Lee and Launay, Jacques. 2020. Signals through music and dance: Perceived social bonds and formidability on collective movement. Acta Psychologica, 208, 103093. ISSN 0001-6918 [Article]

harin_ACTA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Previous studies have suggested that the prosocial effects which arise following synchrony during music and dance may serve as a mechanism for people to bond socially. However, other research has proposed that synchrony could be a mechanism for signalling coalition to demonstrate fitness, which is expressed by a group's ability to effectively cooperate. In the present studies, we compared these theories by showing participants realistic virtual avatars engaged in different forms of group dance and then examining their perceived social closeness and formidability of the dance groups. We conducted two studies to assess the perceptual influence of movement type (unison vs. coordinated) and movement quality (temporally aligned vs. temporally misaligned). We predicted that the difference in the ratings of closeness and formidability would only emerge when the groups align movements, and this was supported. We also hypothesised that unison movement would better signal formidability while coordinated movement would better signal a group's social closeness. However, unison movement yielded higher ratings than coordinated movement for both formidability and social closeness, suggesting that a group should move in complete synchrony to maximally indicate their fitness and social bonds.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Synchrony, Coordination, Coalition signalling, Social bond, Formidability

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



18 May 2020Accepted
7 June 2020Published Online
July 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2020 11:16

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:04

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)