- Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group (SENRG) Research Group
- Synchrony and exertion during dance independently raise pain threshold and encourage social bonding.pdf PDF document 423.2 KB
- Music and social bonding. Self-other merging and neurohormonal mechanisms.pdf PDF document 594.1 KB
- Silent disco_Evolution and Human Behavior.pdf PDF document 658.6 KB
BSc (Hons; University of Cape Town); MSc (Oxford); DPhil (PhD, Oxford)
Postoctoral Research Associate
Dance and Social bonding
Originally from Namibia, I previously studied Evolutionary Biodiversity and Zoology at the University of Cape Town, completing my honours research on cooperative breeding in Naked Mole Rats. At Oxford I graduated with a masters in Environmental Change and Management, where I used social science research skills to look at art and environmental education. In 2015 I completed my doctoral research in Robin Dunbar's Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research lab, focussing on a topic which combined my love of dance with my curiosity about human nature, evolution and sociality.
Doctoral research summary
The stage for my doctoral research is set around humans' widespread love-affair with music and dance. Working with people in Brazil, Oxford and Barcelona, my studies investigated how dancing in synchrony acts as a social glue, causing the release of endorphins and the experience of a collective ‘high’. The research has relevance to research relating to dance movement therapy, mirror neurons, group synchronisation and human sociality in general. I am also interested in educational psychology, social bonding and cooperation generally. A believer in Open Science, I have delivered a number of interactive public talks, spoken on radio and podcasts and written popular science articles on my research.
I have run studies in the UK, Northern Brazil and Barcelona.
For a recent podcast on my research: 'Dance - it's only human'
For a non-scientific discussion about my research: Oxford Research on 'How to live a happy life'
For a popular science article on a recent research paper: 'The Conversation'
Synchrony and exertion during dance independently raise pain threshold and encourage social bonding.
Tarr B. et al, (2015), Biol Lett, 11
Music and social bonding: "self-other" merging and neurohormonal mechanisms.
Tarr B. et al, (2014), Front Psychol, 5
Silent disco: dancing in synchrony leads to elevated pain thresholds and social closeness.
Tarr B. et al, (2016), Evol Hum Behav, 37, 343 - 349
Public engagement talk: Rhodes Retreat on Community, Social Bonds and Dance
Invited speaker at the 2016 1st Year Rhodes Retreat, as part of a series on human nature and community.