- 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. Dancing in Synchrony Leads to Elevated Pain Thresholds and Social Closeness 2016.pdf PDF document 658.6 KB
- Social Bonding through Dance and 'Musiking' 2017.pdf PDF document 802.3 KB
- Naltrexone Blocks Endorphins Released when Dancing in Synchroy 2017.pdf PDF document 508.3 KB
BSc (Hons; University of Cape Town); MSc (Oxford); PhD/DPhil (Oxford)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
- Departmental Lecturer, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology
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. Following this I joined Robin Dunbar's Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research lab, where I began my doctoral research on a topic which combines 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 investigate 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
Synchrony as an Adaptive Mechanism for Large-Scale Human Social Bonding
Launay J. et al, (2016), ETHOLOGY, 122, 779 - 789
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.