Social context facilitates visuomotor synchrony and bonding in children and adults
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-17, 10:10 authored by Ellen M Howard, Danielle Ropar, Roger NewportRoger Newport, Bahar Tunçgenç
Interpersonal synchrony is a fundamental part of human social interaction, with known effects on facilitating social bonding. Moving in time with another person facilitates prosocial behaviour, however, it is unknown if the degree of synchronisation predicts the degree of social bonding. Similarly, while people readily fall in synchrony even without being instructed to do so, we do not know whether such spontaneous synchronisation elicits similar prosocial effects as instructed synchronisation. Across two studies, we investigated how context (social vs non-social stimulus) and instruction (instructed vs uninstructed) influenced synchronisation accuracy and bonding with the interaction partner in adults and children. The results revealed improved visuomotor synchrony within a social, compared to non-social, context in adults and children. Children, but not adults, synchronised more accurately when instructed to synchronise than when uninstructed. For both children and adults, synchronisation in a social context elicited stronger social bonding towards an interaction partner as compared to synchronisation in a non-social context. Finally, children’s, but not adults’, degree of synchrony with the partner was significantly associated with their feelings of social closeness. These findings illuminate the interaction of sensorimotor coupling and joint action in social contexts and how these mechanisms facilitate synchronisation ability and social bonding.
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