Collective synchrony increases prosociality towards non-performers and out-group members

Paul Reddish, Eddie M. W. Tong, Jonathan Jong, Jonathan A. Lanman, Harvey Whitehouse

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68 Citations (Scopus)
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Previous research has found that behavioural synchrony between people leads to greater prosocial tendencies towards co-performers. In this study we investigated the scope of this prosocial effect: does it extend beyond the performance group to an extended in-group (extended parochial prosociality) or even to other people in general (generalized prosociality)? Participants performed a simple rhythmic movement either in time (synchrony condition) or out of time (asynchrony condition) with each other. Before and during the rhythmic movement, participants were exposed to a prime that made salient an extended in-group identity. After the task, half the participants had the opportunity to help an extended in-group member; the other half had the opportunity to help an out-group member. We found a main effect of our synchrony manipulation across both help targets suggesting that the prosocial effects of synchrony extend to non-performers. Furthermore, there was a significantly higher proportion of participants willing to help an out-group member after moving collectively in synchrony. This study shows that under certain intergroup contexts synchrony can lead to generalized prosociality with performers displaying greater prosociality even towards out-group members.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-738
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date29 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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