Synchrony and Physiological Arousal Increase Cohesion and Cooperation in Large Naturalistic Groups

Joshua Conrad Jackson, Jonathan Jong, David Bilkey, Harvey Whitehouse, Stefanie Zollmann, Craig McNaughton, Jamin Halberstadt

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    Abstract

    Separate research streams have identified synchrony and arousal as two factors that might contribute to the effects of human rituals on social cohesion and cooperation. But no research has manipulated these variables in the field to investigate their causal - and potentially interactive - effects on prosocial behaviour. Across four experimental sessions involving large samples of strangers, we manipulated the synchronous and physiologically arousing affordances of a group marching task within a sports stadium. We observed participants' subsequent movement, grouping, and cooperation via a camera hidden in the stadium's roof. Synchrony and arousal both showed main effects, predicting larger groups, tighter clustering, and more cooperative behaviour in a free-rider dilemma. Synchrony and arousal also interacted on measures of clustering and cooperation such that synchrony only encouraged closer clustering-and encouraged greater cooperation-when paired with physiological arousal. The research helps us understand why synchrony and arousal often co-occur in rituals around the world. It also represents the first use of real-time spatial tracking as a precise and naturalistic method of simulating collective rituals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number127
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume8
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2018

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    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

    Cite this

    Jackson, J. C., Jong, J., Bilkey, D., Whitehouse, H., Zollmann, S., McNaughton, C., & Halberstadt, J. (2018). Synchrony and Physiological Arousal Increase Cohesion and Cooperation in Large Naturalistic Groups. Scientific Reports, 8(1), [127]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-18023-4