Physiological and Behavioral Synchrony Predict Group Cohesion and Performance

Interpersonal synchrony contributes to social functioning in dyads, but it remains unknown how synchrony shapes group experiences and performance. To this end, we designed a novel group drumming task in which participants matched their drumming to either predictable or unpredictable tempos. Fifty-one three-person groups were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: synchronized or asynchronized drumming. Outcome measures included electrocardiograms and self-reports of group cohesion and synchrony. The drumming task elicited an increase in physiological synchrony between group members (specifically their hearts’ interbeat intervals). We also found that physiological synchronization and behavioral synchronization predicted individuals’ experience of group cohesion. Physiological synchrony also predicted performance in a subsequent group task that involved freely drumming together. The findings suggest that the behavioral and physiological consequences of synchronization contribute to the formation of group bonds and coordination. They also confirm that insights from translational social neuroscience can inform our knowledge of the development of cohesive and efficacious groups.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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