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New Study Shows Dancing Together Brings Us Closer

Moving to music is a universal behavior, with the majority of the population being able to detect and dance to a music beat. We enjoy not only dancing with ourselves, but with large groups in nightclubs and at festivals.

Ever been to a dance show and you copied another person, perhaps the DJ or were engaged in a circle of shufflers? What about seeing Armin Van Buuren when he does the “Ping Pong” movement with everyone in the crowd; or Hardwell or Tiesto doing a sit-down with everyone jumping when the beat kicks in! It feels good, I think we can say from our own experiences it is surreal to be in synch with so many strangers.

Scientists have established a relationship bonding effect when individuals move in synchrony with each other including tapping, walking, and mimicking movement. They believe that endorphins, feel-good chemicals; are being released when people moving in synch, and now they wanted to test dancing in groups.

They took 3 groups, for a silent disco. A silent disco is when everyone wears their own headphones and can only hear their specific music channel. Group 1, they learned different dance moves and had different music. Group 2 had the same dance moves but different music. Group 3 had the same dance moves and same music among the group when they danced together.

All three groups stood in a circle and danced with each other following the audio dance moves and music.

They tested the group’s pain threshold using a blood pressure cuff; the one they test your blood pressure with at the doctor’s office. They inflated the cuff among all participants until the pain was reported. Group 3, the synchrony dance and music group, had the highest pain threshold after the silent disco.


Next, they tested pro-sociality in the form of asking the participants how included they felt towards the group and their amount of connectedness. Interestingly, Group 3 was the highest in both measures between all 3 groups.

These findings are truly unique and exciting, but is still exploratory and thus replication and further studies are needed to investigate this theory. The scientists plan to follow up this study with a similar design, but give the participants a drug that will block endorphins in humans; to understand the role of synchrony and endorphins.


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