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Group dancing is a ubiquitous human activity that involves exertive synchronized movement to music. It is hypothesized to play a role in social bonding, potentially via the release of endorphins, which are analgesic and reward-inducing, and have been implicated in primate social bonding. We used a 2 × 2 experimental design to examine effects of exertion and synchrony on bonding. Both demonstrated significant independent positive effects on pain threshold (a proxy for endorphin activation) and in-group bonding. This suggests that dance which involves both exertive and synchronized movement may be an effective group bonding activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Lett

Publication Date





dance, endorphins, self–other merging, social bonding, synchrony