Joint Action Enhances Cohesion and Positive Affect, but Suppresses Aspects of Creativity When Combined With Shared Goals

We aimed to examine the link between two types of joint action (synchrony and asynchrony) and creativity (both divergent thinking and convergent thinking) using an established experimental paradigm. A secondary aim was to replicate and extend the amplified positive effects of shared intentionality (i.e., having a shared common goal) on social and affective responses. Participants (N = 138) were randomly assigned to move in synchrony, move in asynchrony, or passively observe others moving. To induce shared goals, participants were provided with either a shared group goal of working together or an individual goal of focusing on the individual participant’s own movements. First, our results revealed that joint action in combination with group goal conditions decreases convergent thinking, but we found no support for differences in divergent thinking. This indicates that it may be the underlying shared goals combined with joint action that influences convergent thinking, and not synchronized movements. Second, we replicated synchrony’s positive effect on cohesion and positive affect. These findings are consistent with evolutionary theories of group rituals as a means for inducing solidarity, and extend previous findings by showing that joint action with shared goals may potentially induce shared patterns of thought.


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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