Dancing in a group in these social distancing times can help increase social bonding between individuals but keeping a reasonable physical distance to avoid Covid-19 would also be a better idea.
A new study conducted at Center for Music in the Brain at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that music provides a unique context for social bonding.
The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest that when moving together with music, synchronous movements between individuals increase social closeness.
"It shows that the reason why music connects us is that it combines bodily synchronization with positive emotions. It indicates that if there is an evolutionary advantage of music, it is probably due to its ability to synchronize our movements, emotions and brains," explained Professor Peter Vuust.
There is something sublime and affectionate in moving together with people in the crowd of a concert or in a music club.
"Even just watching people synchronize their movements in dance or when making music together can give us a feeling of harmony and affiliation," added post-doctoral researcher Jan Stupacher.
The time spent together dancing and laughing creates a strong bond and feeling of community).
"The unique context provided by music can strengthen social bonds that connect people with different backgrounds - especially if these people move together in time with the beat and enjoy the same music," said the researchers.
Stupacher and colleagues were especially interested in the questions how cultural familiarity with music and personal musical taste affect social bonding when moving in synchrony or asynchrony with another person.
They created an online video-paradigm, which allowed investigating these effects with participants from all over the world.
In three individual experiments, they showed that the influence of movement synchrony on social bonding is less affected by what music we are familiar with but more affected by what music we enjoy.
When the context-providing music was more enjoyed, social closeness increased strongly with a synchronized partner, but only weakly with an asynchronized partner.
This interaction effect did not occur for musical familiarity: When the music was more familiar, social closeness was higher independent of movement synchrony, the authors wrote.