Music and Social Bonding: The Role of Non-Diegetic Music and Synchrony on Perceptions of Videotaped Walkers

Abstract

Researchers studying the role of music in human evolution and the role of music in everyday life suggest that music helps to promote social bonding. However, there is limited direct evidence to support this idea. The current experiment investigated the role of different pieces of music in the perceived social bonding of videotaped walkers. The participants watched one of two videos of three women walking away from the camera. In one video the women walked in synchrony and in the other the women were out of step with each other. Participants rated the perceived degree of rapport and entitativity among the three walkers. In each run of the experiment a different piece of music was paired with the videos for half the participants. Both music and synchrony of walkers influenced the perceived degree of entitativity. Even though there was no indication that the actors in the video heard the music, observers perceived that a social bond existed among the walkers when the music was present.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bakagiannis, S., & Tarrant, M. (2006). Can music bring people together? Effects of shared musical preference on intergroup bias in adolescence. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 47(2), 129–136.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Barsade, S. G. (2002). The ripple effects: emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(4), 644–675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Boer, D., & Fischer, R. (2012). Towards a holistic model of functions of music listening across cultures: a culturally decentered qualitative approach. Psychology of Music, 40(2), 179–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Boer, D., Fischer, R., Strack, M., Bond, M. H., Lo, E., & Lam, J. (2011). How shared preferences in music create bonds between people: values as the missing link. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(9), 1159–1171.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Boltz, M. G. (2001). Musical soundtracks as a schematic influence on the cognitive processing of filmed events. Music Perception, 18(4), 427–454.

  6. Brewer, M. B. (1979). In-group bias in the minimal intergroup situation: a cognitive-motivational analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86(2), 307–324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Brown, S. (2000). Evolutionary models of music: from sexual selection to group selection. In F. Tonneau & N. S. Thompson (Eds.), Perspectives in ethology (Evolution, culture, and behavior, Vol. 13, pp. 231–281). Dordrecht Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Campbell, D. T. (1958). Common fate, similarity, and other indices of the status of aggregates of persons as social entities. Behavioral Science, 314–25.

  9. Clark, M. S., & Waddell, B. A. (1983). Effects of moods on thoughts about helping, attraction and information acquisition. Social Psychology Quarterly, 46(1), 31–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Clayton, M. (2008). The social and personal functions of music in cross-cultural perspective. The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford University Press, pp. 35–44.

  11. Cross, I., & Morley, I. (2009). The evolution of music: theories, definitions and the nature of the evidence. In S. Malloch & C. Trevarthen (Eds.), Communicative musicality: exploring the basis of human companionship (pp. 61–81). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Dunbar, R. M., Kaskatis, K., MacDonald, I., & Barra, V. (2012). Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: implications for the evolutionary function of music. Evolutionary Psychology, 10(4), 688–702.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gebauer, L., Kringelbach, M. L., & Vuust, P. (2012). Ever-changing cycles of musical pleasure: the role of dopamine and anticipation. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 22(2), 152–167.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Grape C., Sandgren M., Hansson L.O., Ericson M., & Theorell T. (2003). Does singing promote well-being?: An empirical study of professional and amateur singers during a singing lesson. National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm, Sweden.

  15. Greitemeyer, T. (2009). Effects of songs with prosocial lyrics on prosocial thoughts, affect, and behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(1), 186–190.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hoeckner, B., Wyatt, E. W., Decety, J., & Nusbaum, H. (2011). Film music influences how viewers relate to movie characters. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts , 5(2), 146–153. doi:10.1037/a0021544.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hove, M. J., & Risen, J. L. (2009). It’s all in the timing: interpersonal synchrony increases affiliation. Social Cognition, 27(6), 949–961.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Huron, D. (2003). Is music an evolutionary adaptation? In I. Peretz & R. Zatorre (Eds.), The cognitive neuroscience of music (pp. 57–75). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Juslin, P. N., Liljeström, S., Västfjäll, D., & Lundqvist, L. (2010). How does music evoke emotions? exploring the underlying mechanisms. In P. N. Juslin & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: theory, research, applications (pp. 605–642). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Kirschner, S., & Tomasello, M. (2010). Joint music making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(5), 354–364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lakens, D., & Stel, M. (2011). If they move in sync, they must feel in sync: movement synchrony leads to attributions of rapport and entitativity. Social Cognition, 29(1), 1–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Lawler, E. J., Thye, S. R., & Yoon, J. (2000). Emotion and group cohesion in productive exchange. American Journal of Sociology, 106(3), 616–657. doi:10.1086/318965.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Levitin, D. J. (2005). Musical behavior in a Neurogenetic developmental disorder: evidence from williams syndrome. In G. Avanzini, L. Lopez, S. Koelsch, & M. Manjno (Eds.), The neurosciences and music II: from perception to performance (pp. 325–334). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Levitin, D. J. (2008). The world in six songs: How the musical brain created human nature. New York: Plume.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Livingstone, S., & Thompson, W. (2009). The emergence of music from the Theory of Mind. Musicae Scientiae, SPECIAL ISSUE83-115.

  26. Loersch, C., & Arbuckle, N. L. (2013). Unraveling the mystery of music: music as an evolved group process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(5), 777–798.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Miles, L. K., Nind, L. K., & Macrae, C. N. (2009). The rhythm of rapport: interpersonal synchrony and social perception. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 585–589.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Miles, L. K., Nind, L. K., Henderson, Z., & Macrae, C. (2010). Moving memories: behavioral synchrony and memory for self and others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(2), 457–460.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Nilsson, U. (2009). Soothing music can increase oxytocin levels during bed rest after open-heart surgery: a randomized control trial. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18(15), 2153–2161.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Reddish, P., Bulbulia, J., & Fischer, R. (2014). Does synchrony promote generalized proscociality? Religion, Brain and Behavior, 4, 3–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Roederer, J. G. (1984). The search for a survival value of music. Music Perception, 1(3), 350–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Tan, S., Spackman, M. P., & Bezdek, M. A. (2007). Viewers’ interpretations of film characters’ emotions: effects of presenting film music before or after a character is shown. Music Perception, 25(2), 135–152. doi:10.1525/mp.2007.25.2.135.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Ter Bogt, T. F. M., Mulder, J., Raaijmakers, Q. A. W., & Gabhainn, S. N. (2011). Moved by music: A typology of music listeners. Psychology of Music, 39(2), 147–163.

  34. Thye, S. R., Lawler, E. J., & Yoon, J. (2011). The emergence of embedded relations and group formation in networks of competition. Social Psychology Quarterly, 74(4), 387–413.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Valdesolo, P., Ouyang, J., & DeSteno, D. (2010). The rhythm of joint action: synchrony promotes cooperative ability. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(4), 693–695.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Wiltermuth, S. S., & Heath, C. (2009). Synchrony and cooperation. Psychological Science, 20(1), 1–5.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Laura L. Edelman.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Edelman, L.L., Harring, K.E. Music and Social Bonding: The Role of Non-Diegetic Music and Synchrony on Perceptions of Videotaped Walkers. Curr Psychol 34, 613–620 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-014-9273-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Music
  • Social bonding
  • Synchrony