ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review


Adults who engage in synchronous movement to music later report liking each other better, remembering more about each other, trusting each other more, and are more likely to cooperate with each other compared to adults who engage in asynchronous movements. Although poor motor coordination limits infants' ability to entrain to a musical beat, they perceive metrical structure in auditory rhythm patterns, their movements are affected by the tempo of music they hear, and if they are bounced by an adult to a rhythm pattern, the manner of this bouncing can affect their auditory interpretation of the meter of that pattern. In this paper, we review studies showing that by 14 months of age, infants who are bounced in synchrony with an adult subsequently show more altruistic behavior toward that adult in the form of handing back objects "accidentally" dropped by the adult compared to infants who are bounced asynchronously with the adult. Furthermore, increased helpfulness is directed at the synchronized bounce partner, but not at a neutral stranger. Interestingly, however, helpfulness does generalize to a "friend" of the synchronized bounce partner. In sum, synchronous movement between infants and adults has a powerful effect on infants' expression of directed prosocial behavior. © 2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. ISSN 0077-8923
Issue: The Neurosciences and Music V
Rhythm and interpersonal synchrony in early social
Laurel J. Trainor1,2,3 and Laura Cirelli1
1Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 2McMaster
Institute for Music and the Mind, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 3Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Hospital, Toronto, Ontario,
Address for correspondence: Laurel J. Trainor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University,
1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4B2.
Adults who engage in synchronous movement to music later report liking each other better, remembering more
about each other, trusting each other more, and are more likely to cooperate with each other compared to adults
who engage in asynchronous movements. Although poor motor coordination limits infants’ ability to entrain to
a musical beat, they perceive metrical structure in auditory rhythm patterns, their movements are affected by the
tempo of music they hear, and if they are bounced by an adult to a rhythm pattern, the manner of this bouncing
can affect their auditory interpretation of the meter of that pattern. In this paper, we review studies showing that by
14 months of age, infants who are bounced in synchrony with an adult subsequently show more altruistic behavior
toward that adult in the form of handing back objects “accidentally” dropped by the adult compared to infants
who are bounced asynchronously with the adult. Furthermore, increased helpfulness is directed at the synchronized
bounce partner, but not at a neutral stranger. Interestingly, however, helpfulness does generalize to a “friend” of the
synchronized bounce partner. In sum, synchronous movement between infants and adults has a powerful effect on
infants’ expression of directed prosocial behavior.
Keywords: rhythm; entrainment; interpersonal synchrony; infant development; prosocial behavior; altruism
It is intriguing that humans not only have a propen-
sity to move to rhythmic auditory stimuli but also
they commonly engage in this activity in groups
where social bonding is important and shared goals
are desired.1For example, music and movement
(including dance) are commonly present during re-
ligious and ritual ceremonies, important commu-
nity events such as weddings and funerals, social
parties, and during group military exercises, sug-
gesting that engaging in music increases coopera-
tion within groups.2–6 In this paper, evidence for a
link between synchronous movement and prosocial
behavior in adults is reviewed, prerequisites for such
behavior are considered, and evidence for the influ-
ence of synchrony on helping behaviors in infancy is
Synchrony and prosocial behavior in
Research indicates that synchronous movement
between adults increases group cohesion and social
cooperation.7–9 Synchronized movement appears to
have prosocial effects whether or not it involves
music, but the temporal predictability of musical
rhythms provides an ideal context to support syn-
chronized movement. Wiltermuth and Heath,9for
example, found that adults who walked together in
synch or moved a cup in synch while singing were
subsequently more likely to cooperate in a weak-
link game (where the best outcome for all is when
everyone contributes at the highest level, but if one
person contributes at a low level, those contributing
at a high level suffer most) and to contribute more
into a public account in a public-goods game (where
doi: 10.1111/nyas.12649
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Interpersonal synchrony and social development Trainor & Cirelli
the group benefits from contributions, but individ-
uals benefit from not contributing) compared to
people who did similar activities but not in synch.
Synchronous movement also increases trust7,10 and
affiliation11 between those involved. Furthermore,
people are more likely to engage in altruistic acts
(defined as acts that require personal sacrifice)
aimed at people with whom they previously moved
in synch compared to out of sync.9,12 Although the
mechanisms by which these social effects of syn-
chronous movement operate are not yet entirely
understood, people rate synchronously moving
partners as more similar to themselves than asyn-
chronously moving partners,8,12 and show enhan-
ced perception of, and memory for, synchronously
moving partners.8,13,14 Interestingly, one study in-
dicates that synchronized drumming increases
activity in the striatum (specifically the caudate),
an area associated with reward (both material and
social), prosocial behavior, and modulation of fut-
ure behavior.15
Prerequisite processes and their
fied that are necessary to establish a causal connec-
tion between synchronous movement and prosocial
behavior in the context of music. The metric struc-
ture of the music must be extracted from the musi-
cal surface. The ability to connect motor movements
with theauditory beats of themusic mustbe present.
Whether or not other people are also moving in
synch must be perceived, for example, from see-
ing their movements or hearing the results of their
movements. Some understanding of people as social
agents must be present. And, finally, some appraisal
such as of self-similarity must be made, which
affects affiliative evaluation, social perception, and,
ultimately, prosocial or altruistic behavior. Music is
particularly interesting with respect to early social
development because caregivers across cultures sing
to infants,16,17 and this singing is used to communi-
cate emotionally and to help infants regulate their
Development of the perception of metrical
Musical rhythms consist of patterns of event onset-
to-onset of different durations. From at least as
young as 2 months of age, infants can discriminate
changes in tempo19 and changes in simple rhythmic
patterns.20–22 From musical rhythm patterns, adults
readily extract a steady underlying beat or pulse to
which they might clap their hands or tap their foot.
These beats can be arranged in different percep-
tual groups or meters. For example, every second
beat might be accented, resulting in a duple me-
ter (e.g., a march), or every third beat might be
accented, resulting in a triple meter (e.g., a waltz).
At some levels of the metrical hierarchy, beats will
be evenly spaced (isochronous), but at others they
might be nonisochronous but regular (e.g., alter-
nating groups of two and three beats). Sensitivity to
meter emerges early in development. Perceptually,
7-month-old infants show surprise when a meter is
changed from duple to triple or vice versa.23 There is
even evidence that newborns may extract the meter
from auditory rhythm patterns in that they show
larger event-related potential mismatch negativity
responses to the omission of a strong beat compared
to a weak beat in an ongoing rhythm pattern.24 The
particular meters commonly used vary from musi-
cal system to musical system, and infants’ perception
becomes specialized for the meters in the music in
their environment by the end of the first year after
birth.25 In sum, infants perceive metric structure
very early on, and their perception is shaped by
experience during infancy.
Development of the ability to entrain
movement to an auditory beat
Many species execute rhythmic movements, includ-
ing those used in locomotion (e.g., walking, run-
ning, hopping, swimming, flying), feeding (e.g.,
chewing, pecking), and sound production (e.g., vo-
cal cord vibration, limb or wing rubbing). Many
species also synchronize movements across indi-
viduals, such as fireflies that pulse together, birds
that flap their wings together, and fish that move
their fins and tails together. However, few species
have been shown to synchronize rhythmic move-
ments with an external auditory beat.26,27 Although
the vast majority of humans readily, even sponta-
neously, engage in movement to a predictable beat
such as that found in music,26,28–30 convincing evi-
dence of this in other species has been found only
for a few vocal learning birds31,32 and one sea lion
who was trained in captivity.33
Developmentally, it takes years for human chil-
dren to become adept at synchronizing movements
46 Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Tra i n o r & Cir e l li In t e r per s o n a l syn c h ron y a n d s oci a l d e v elo p m e nt
with an auditory beat. For example, 3-year-olds are
poor at clapping in time with a metronome beat,34
a task that is easy for adults.28 The tempo range
over which young children can produce a steady
beat when they clap is restricted to beat onset-to-
onset times around 400 ms,35 whereas adults are able
to synchronize across a wide range of tempi.29,30
Furthermore, the limitations in young children’s
entrainment abilities do not appear to be restricted
to clapping movements; although young children
will move to music by hopping, swaying, and cir-
cling, these movements are generally not related to
the tempo of the music.36 By 4 years of age, children
begin to demonstrate robust entrainment.34,35,37,38
Interestingly, when entrainment is socially sup-
ported, children as young as 2.5 years show some evi-
dence of entrainment; at this age, children showed
evidence of entrainment when drumming with a
human partner but not when drumming with a
machine that hit the drum.39 Although 4.5-year-old
children could entrain their drumming in both con-
ditions, they were more accurate when drumming
with the human than the machine partner.
Given that even young infants perceive metric
structure in rhythm patterns, it is possible that
young children’s poor ability to entrain is due in
large part to motoric immaturity. Indeed, although
infants 5–18 months old were found not to entrain
to music, they did move more in response to music
than to speech and tended to move faster to music
with faster tempi.40 This suggests that the connec-
tions between motor and auditory systems may be
present early in development, but the limiting factor
is actual motor control of movement.
One way to examine early connections between
motor and auditory regions is to actually move in-
fants (rather than expecting them to execute the
movements) and determine whether this has an
influence on auditory perception. Phillips-Silver
and Trainor41 did just this. They presented infants
with an ambiguous auditory rhythm pattern, that
is, one that could be interpreted metrically in more
than one way. Specifically, they presented a repeating
six-beat pattern with no physically accented beats
that could be perceived either as two three-beat
groups (as in a waltz) or as three two-beat groups (as
in a march). Half the infants were held and bounced
on every second beat and half on every third beat.
After 2 min of this movement experience, using a
paradigm in which infants controlled how long they
listened to each pattern by their head movements,we
found that infants preferred to listen to the rhythm
pattern with accents that matched how they had
been bounced. That is, infants bounced on every
second beat of the nonaccented ambiguous pattern
preferred to listen to a version of the pattern with
accents added on every second beat, whereas infants
bounced on every third beat of the nonaccented
ambiguous pattern preferred to listen to a version
of the pattern with accents on every third beat. From
this study it can be concluded that strong links exist
for rhythm between motor and auditory domains
in infancy, as in adulthood.42,43
In adults, fMRI studies indicate that simply lis-
tening to an auditory rhythm activates motor net-
works in the brain.44–47 EEG and MEG studies
show that responses from auditory cortex follow
the tempo of the music48,49 and that listening to
an auditory rhythm causes oscillatory activity in
the !band (around 20 Hz) in both auditory and
motor regions.50 One study shows similar entrain-
ment of oscillatory !-band responses to the tempo
of an auditory rhythm in school-aged children,51
but the neural underpinnings of entrainment in inf-
ants have not yet been investigated. In any case,
the existing literature shows that prerequisite entr-
ainment abilities, namely the association between
auditory and motor interpretations of meter and
rhythm, are present in infancy to support links bet-
ween movement synchrony and social behavior.
Early development of social understanding
Increasing evidence suggests that humans are most
different from other species, including those that
humans are most closely genetically related to, with
respect to social cognition52 and that by 1 year of
age, social development is well under way.53 Motor
entrainment between individuals is a specialized
form of joint action (for a review, see Ref. 54), in
which individuals coordinate their actions in order
to accomplish joint physical or communicative
goals. Before 1 year of age, parents and infants are
already engaging in joint action, and the amount of
coordinat ion between moth ers and infants at 3 a nd 9
months of age predicts infant self-regulation and fu-
ture IQ and empathy.55 With respect to music, infant
head, body, hand, and leg movements are most syn-
chronized to their mother’s singing at the begin-
nings and ends of musical phrases,56 suggesting the
presence of a precursor to entrainment.
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Interpersonal synchrony and social development Trainor & Cirelli
Another important ingredient in early social cog-
nition is joint attention, the ability to coordinate
attention with a social partner in order to inform
and share experiences.57 As young as 12 months
of age, for example, infants (unlike chimpanzees)
will initiate joint attention by pointing to objects
in order to get others to attend to them.58,59 At
even younger ages, infants show preferences for
other people who exhibit certain behaviors such as
smiling60–62 and making direct eye contact.63 Inf-
ants also show preferences for others who are similar
to themselves.64 Furthermore, young infants under-
stand social agents as having intentional goals. In-
fants 6 to 10 months of age approach objects that
have helped another object and avoid those that have
hindered another object from achieving a goal.65
Furthermore, 3-month-olds look longer at an ob-
ject previously seen to help another object climb a
hill compared to an object previously seen to hinder
another object from climbing the hill.66
Instrumental helping behaviors, an early mani-
festation of altruism, emerge before 18 months of
age.67,68 Infants as young as 14 months can recog-
nize the goal of another person and spontaneously
help them to achieve this goal without any reward.
Specifically,in one study, 14-month-old infants were
shown to help adults by giving them out-of-reach
objects needed for the adult to achieve a goal; for
example, during a task in which the adult was pin-
ning towels on a clothesline, when the adult “acci-
dentally” dropped a clothespin, the infants picked
it up and handed it back to the adult more often
than when the adult purposely dropped the
clothespin.69 In sum, the basic elements of social
cognition and proso cial behavior are present in infa-
nts by 14 months of age. Together with their abil-
ity to perceive the meters of auditory rhythms and
the existence of connections between auditory and
motor domains for rhythm, as reviewed above, it is
reasonable to ask whether synchronous movement
between a 14-month-old infant and an adult would
lead to increases in prosocial behavior in the infant
as it does in adults.
Interpersonal synchrony and prosocial
behavior in infancy
In a series of studies we have tested whether the
experience of interpersonal synchrony in a musical
context leads to increased altruistic behaviors in 14-
month-old infants.70,71 The basic design included an
interpersonal movement phase followed by a proso-
cial test phase. During the interpersonal movement
phase, an assistant stood and held the infant in a
forward-facing carrier such that the infant faced
an experimenter. The infant listened to “Twist and
Shout” by The Beatles over speakers for 145 seconds.
The assistant and experimenter listened to sepa-
rate beat tracks over headphones, which instructed
them on how to bounce. The synchrony of bouncing
between the experimenter and infant was the ma-
nipulation of interest. During synchronous bounc-
ing conditions, the beat tracks of the assistant and
experimenter matched, and they bounced to the
tempo of the music. In the original study, dur-
ing asynchronous bouncing conditions, the exper-
imenter bounced either 33% slower or faster than
the infant. In addition, during antiphase bouncing
conditions, the infant and experimenter bounced at
the same tempo, but the highest and lowest points
of their movement trajectories occurred at opposite
times. Both the assistant and the experimenter wore
Nintendo Wii remotes to measure their movement
trajectories, and the experimenter was videotaped
in order to ensure that her behavior was consistent
across conditions.
During the prosocial test phase, infants com-
pleted instrumental helping tasks based on those
of Warneken and Tomasello.69 For example, during
the paper ball task, the experimenter picks up pa-
per balls with tongs and places them in a bucket
and tries to get paper balls that are out of reach.
During the marker task, the experimenter draws a
picture and “accidentally” drops a marker off the
table and out of reach. During the clothespin task,
the experimenter “accidentally” drops a clothespin
out of reach while attempting to clip up dishcloths
on a clothesline. For each task, the trial begins when
the object is dropped and/or signaled to be out of
reach. For the first 10 s, the experimenter gazes at
the object. For the next 10 s, she alternates look-
ing at the infant and the object, and for the last
10 s, she adds vocalization (e.g., “my marker!”). Tri-
als ended when the infant picked up and returned
the object or after 30 seconds. The experimenter was
videotaped in order to ensure that her behavior was
consistent across conditions.
The initial study found that infants helped the
experimenter significantly more if they had bounced
to music in synchrony with her compared to if
they had bounced out of sync.70 Analyses of the
48 Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Tra i n o r & Cir e l li In t e r per s o n a l syn c h ron y a n d s oci a l d e v elo p m e nt
movement trajectory data during bouncing revealed
no systematic differences in individual bouncing
across conditions, and adults who rated video clips
of the experimenter during both phases of the
experiment were unable to detect any differences
across conditions, including in bouncing quality,
happiness displayed by the experimenter, and ex-
perimenter interaction during the helping tasks.
These analyses indicate that the experiment was well
controlled. Thus, remarkably, less than 3 min of
synchronous movement experience can increase in-
fants’ prosocial behavior. Interestingly, the increase
in helping occurred primarily during the first 10 s,
suggesting that it was spontaneous in nature.
Delayed helping, defined as occurring after the
first 10 s and potentially reflecting compliance, was
significantly related to personality variables as mea-
sured by the Infant Behavior Questionnaire, in-
cluding dispositional positivity and willingness to
approach novel objects,72 whereas spontaneous
helping during the first 10 s was not.
bouncing also subsequently increased spontaneous
helping in 14-month-old infants when compared to
asynchronous bouncing.70 This indicates that iden-
tical movements are not necessary for this social
effect but that the tempo of the oscillatory move-
ment may be critical. This is consistent with a study
of dancing in adults, which found that dancers who
made synchronously timed but not necessarily iden-
tical movements were subsequently able to remem-
ber more information about each other compared
to dancers who moved at different tempi.14 It is also
possible that antiphase movement, in particular, is
privileged, and there is a rich literature on its sta-
bility in adults.29,30 Future studies could disentangle
effects of phase and movement similarity.
One important question is whether infants’ expe-
rience of synchronous movement is pleasurable and
causes them to be generally more helpful (i.e., acts
as a social prime) or whether the effect is targeted
at the person with whom they experienced the syn-
chrony (i.e., acts as a social cue). We reran the initial
experiment described above but with a nonbounc-
ing neutral stranger present in the room during the
interpersonal movement phase.71 As in the initial
experiment, infants bounced either in sync or out
of sync with the experimenter. During the proso-
cial test phase, we measured infants’ willingness to
help both the experimenter and the neutral stranger.
With the experimenter, we replicated the effect of
synchronous movement experience: infants who
bounced in synchrony with the experimenter were
subsequently more likely to help the experimenter
compared to infants who bounced out of sync. How-
ever, there was no effect of bouncing condition
on helpfulness toward the neutral stranger. Thus,
prosocial consequences of synchronous movement
experience are targeted at the person with whom the
movement was experienced.
Music making often involves groups of people,
and, indeed, it has been suggested that music
making increases within-group cohesion.73 The
specificity of prosocial consequences of syn-
chronous movement can be investigated further
by examining whether infants display increased
helpfulness toward friends (positive affiliates) of
a synchronous bouncing partner but not toward
neutral affiliates. In a recent study we had infants
initially watch the experimenter interacting with
a second experimenter.74 In the positive experi-
menter affiliation condition, the two experimenters
engaged in similar gestures and solved a problem
together. In the neutral experimenter affiliation
condition, the two experimenters engaged in similar
actions but did not interact. The results revealed
that if the infant bounced synchronously with one
of these experimenters, he or she showed increased
helping toward the second experimenter if she or
he were in the positive experimenter affiliation
condition but not if she or he were in the neutral
experimenter affiliation condition, and there were
no effects if the infant bounced asynchronously
with the experimenter. Thus, the prosocial effect
of synchronous movement extends to third parties
who are in the same social group.
Conclusions and future directions
The studies presented here indicate that syn-
chronous movement to music has immediate and
powerful prosocial effects, increasing altruistic
behaviors in infants as young as 14 months.
Furthermore, these altruistic effects are targeted at
synchronously moving partners and their positive
affiliates. Infants younger than 14 months do not
readily engage in helping behaviors. However, they
still form expectations about social behaviors, pre-
ferring, for example, those who are attractive,75 use
infant-directed speech,76 and engage in prosocial
behavior.65,77,78 Thus, we are currently exploring
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Interpersonal synchrony and social development Trainor & Cirelli
the possibility that during the first year after birth,
infants expect synchronously moving partners to
engage in prosocial behaviors to a greater extent
than asynchronously moving partners. In general,
the findings to date suggest that interaction through
movement and music is an important tool in early
social development.
The writing of this paper was supported by grants
from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada. Thanks to Susan Marsh-Rollo
for assistance preparing the manuscript.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
1. Dissanayake, E. 2006. “Ritual and ritualization: musical
means of conveying and shaping emotion in humans and
other animals.” In Music and Manipulation: On the Social
Uses and Soc ial Control of Music.S.Brown&U.Voglsten,
Eds.: 31–56. New York: Berghahn Books.
2. Bispham, J. 2006. Rhythm in music: What is it? Who has it?
And why? Music Percep. 24: 125–134.
3. Brown, S. & U. Volgsten. 2006. Music and Manipulation:
On the Socials Uses and Social Control of Music.NewYork:
Berghahn Books.
4. Huron, D. 2001. Is music an evolutionary adaptation? Ann.
N.Y. Acad. Sci. 930: 43–61.
5. McNeill, W. 1995. Keeping Together in Time: Dance and
Drill in Human History.Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniver-
sity Press.
6. Merker, B. 2000. “Synchronous chorusing and human ori-
gins.” In The Origins of Music.N.L.Wallin,B.Merker&S.
Brown, Eds.: 315–327. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
7. Anshel, A. & D.Kippler. 1988. The influence of group singing
on trust and cooperation. J. Music Ther. 25: 145–155.
8. Valdesolo, P., J. Ouyang & D. DeSteno. 2010. The rhythm of
joint action: synchrony promotes cooperative ability. J. Exp.
Soc. Psychol. 46: 693–695. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.03.004.
9. Wiltermuth, S.S. & C. Heath. 2009. Synchrony and co-
operation. Psychol. Sci. 20: 1–5. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.
10. Launay, J., R.T. Dean & F. Bailes. 2013. Synchronization can
influence trust following virtual interaction. Exp. Psychol.
60: 53.
11. Hove, M.J. & J.L. Risen. 2009. It’s all in the timing: interper-
sonal synchrony increases affiliation. Soc. Cogn. 27: 949–960.
doi: 10.1521/soco.2009.27.6.949.
12. Valdesolo, P. & D. DeSteno. 2011. Synchrony and the
social tuning of compassion. Emotion 11: 262–266. doi:
13. Macrae, C.N., O.K. Duffy, L.K. Miles & J. Lawrence. 2008.
A case of hand waving: action synchrony and person per-
ception. Cognition 109: 152–6. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.
14. Woolhouse, M. & D. Tidhar. 2010. Group dancing leads
to increased person-perception. In: Proceedings of the 11th
International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition:
15. Kokal, I., A. Engel, S. Kirschner & C. Keysers. 2011. Syn-
chronized drumming enhances activity in the caudate and
facilitates prosocial commitment—if the rhythm comes eas-
ily. PLoS One 6: e27272. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027272.
16. Trainor, L.J. & E.E. Hannon. 2013. “Musical development.”
In The Psychology of Music, 3rd ed. D.Deutsch, Ed.: 423–498.
London: Elsevier.
17. Trehub, S.E. & L.J. Trainor. 1998. Singing to infants: lullabies
and playsongs. Adv. Infancy Res. 12: 43–77.
18. Rock, A.M.L., L.J. Trainor & T. Addison. 1999. Distinctive
messages in infant-directed lullabies and play songs. Dev.
Psychol. 35: 527–534.
19. Baruch, C. & C. Drake. 1997. Tempo discrimination in in-
fants. Infant Behav. Dev. 20: 573–577.
20. Chang, H.W. & S.E. Trehub. 1977. Infants’ perception of
temporal groupi ng in auditory patter ns. Child Dev.48: 1666–
21. Demany, L., B. McKenzie & E. Vurpillot. 1977. Rhythm per-
ception in early infancy. Nature 266: 718–719.
22. Lewkowicz, D.J. 2003. Learning and discrimination of au-
diovisual events in human infants: the hierarchical relation
between intersensory temporal synchrony and rhythmic pat-
tern cues. Dev. Psychol. 39: 795–804.
23. Hannon, E.E. & S.P. Johnson. 2005. Infants use meter to
categorize rhythms and melodies: implications for musical
structure learning. Cogn. Psychol. 50: 354–377.
24. Winkler, I., G.P. H´
aden, O. Ladinig, et al.2009.Newborn
infants detect the beat in music. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
106: 2468–2471. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0809035106.
25. Hannon, E.E. & S.E. Trehub. 2005. Metrical categories in
infancy and adulthood. Psychol. Sci. 16: 48–55.
26. Patel, A.D. & J.R. Iversen. 2014. The evolutionary neuro-
science of musical beat perception: the action simulation for
auditory prediction (ASAP) hypothesis. Front. Syst . Neurosci.
8: 57.
27. Merchant, H. & H. Honing. 2014. Are non-human primates
capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual
audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Front. Neurosci. 7: 00274.
doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00274.
28. Iversen, J.R. & A.D. Patel. 2008. The beat alignment test
(BAT): Surveying beat processing abilities in the general
population. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Con-
ference on Music Perception and Cognition.Sapporo,Japan.
29. Repp, B.H. 2005. Sensorimotor synchronization: a review
of the tapping literature. Psych. Bull. Rev. 12: 969–992. doi:
30. Repp, B.H. & Y.-H. Su. 2013. Sensorimotor synchronization:
a review of recent research (2006–2012). Psych. Bull. Rev. 20:
31. Patel, A.D., J.R. Iversen, M.R. Bregman & I. Schulz. 2009.
Experimental evidence for synchronization to a musical
50 Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Tra i n o r & Cir e l li In t e r per s o n a l syn c h ron y a n d s oci a l d e v elo p m e nt
beat in a nonhuman animal. Curr. Biol. 19: 827–830.
32. Schachner, A., T.F. Brady, I.M. Pepperberg & M.D. Hauser.
2009. Spontaneous motor entrainment to music in multi-
ple vocal mimicking species. Curr. Biol. 19: 831–836. doi:
33. Cook, P., A. Rouse, M. Wilson & C. Reichmuth. 2013.
ACaliforniasealion(Zalophus californianus)cankeep
the beat: motor entrainment to rhythmic auditory stim-
uli in a non vocal mimic. J. Comp. Psychol. 127: 1–16. doi:
34. Fitzpatrick, P., R.C. Schmidt & J.J. Lockman. 1996. Dynam-
ical patterns in the development of clapping. Child Dev. 67:
35. Provasi, J. & A. Bobin-Begue. 2003. Spontaneous motor
tempo and rhythmical synchronization in 2- and 4-year-old
children. Int. J. Behav. Dev. 27: 220–231.
36. Eerola, T., G. Luck & P. Toiviainen. 2006. “An investigation
of pre-schoolers’ corporeal synchronisation with music.” In
Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Music Per-
ception and Cognition (ICMPC9).M.Baroni,A.R.Addessi,
R. Caterina & M. Costa, Eds.: 472–476. Bologna: Alma Mater
Studiorum University of Bologna.
37. Drake, C., M.R. Jones & C. Baruch. 2000. The development
of rhythmic attending in auditory sequences: attunement,
referent period, focal attending. Cognition 77: 251–288.
38. McAuley, J.D., M.R. Jones, S. Holub, et al. 2006. The time of
our lives: life span development of timing and event tracking.
J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 135: 348–367.
39. Kirschner, S. & M. Tomasello. 2009. Joint drumming: so-
cial context facilitates synchronization in preschool chil-
dren. J. Exp. Child Psychol. 102: 299–314. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.
40. Zentner, M. & T. Eerola. 2010. Rhythmic engagement with
music in infancy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107: 5568–
41. Phillips-Silver, J. & L.J. Trainor. 2005. Feeling the beat in
music: movement influences rhythm perception in infants.
Science 308: 1430.
42. Phillips-Silver, J.& L.J. Trainor. 2007. Hearing what the body
feels: auditory encoding of rhythmic movement. Cognition
105: 533–546.
43. Phillips-Silver, J. & L.J. Trainor. 2008. Vestibular influence
on auditory metrical interpretation. Brain Cogn. 67: 94–102.
44. Chen, J.L., V.B. Penhune & R.J. Zatorre. 2008. Listening to
musical rhythms recruits motor regions of the brain. Cereb.
Cortex 18: 2844–2854.
45. Grahn, J.A. & M. Brett. 2007. Rhythm and beat perception
in motor areas of the brain. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 19: 893–
46. Grahn, J.A. & J.B. Rowe. 2009. Feeling the beat: premotor
and striatal interactions in musicians and non-musicians
during beat perception. J. Neurosci. 29: 7540–7548.
47. Zatorre, R.J., J.L. Chen & V.B. Penhune. 2007. When the
brain plays music: sensory–motor interactions in music per-
ception and production. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 8: 547–558.
48. Nozaradan, S., I. Peretz,M. Missal & A. Mouraux. 2011. Tag-
ging the neuronal entrainment to beat and meter.J. Neurosci.
31: 10234–10240.
49. Nozaradan, S., I. Peretz & A. Mouraux. 2012. Selective neu-
ronal entrainment to the beat and meter embedded in a
musical rhythm. J. Neurosci. 32: 17572–17581.
50. Fujioka, T., L.J. Trainor, E.W. Large & B. Ross. 2012. In-
ternalized timing of isochronous sounds is represented in
neuromagnetic beta oscillations. J. Neurosci. 32: 1791–1802.
51. Cirelli, L.K., D. Bosnyak, F.C. Manning, et al. 2014. Beat-
induced fluctuations in auditory cortical beta-band activity:
using EEG to measure age-related changes. Front. Psychol. 5:
52. Tomasello, M. & E. Herrmann. 2010. Ape and human cog-
nition: what’s the difference? Curr. Dir. Psychol . Res. 19: 3–8.
53. Dunfield, K., V.A. Kuhlmeier, L. O’Connell & E. Kelley. 2011.
Examining the diversity of prosocial behavior: helping, shar-
ing, and comforting in infancy. Infancy 16: 227–247.
54. Knoblich, G., S. Butterfill & N. Sebanz. 2011. Psychological
research on joint action: theory and data. Psychol. Learn.
Motiv. 54: 59–101.
55. Feldman, R. 2007. Parent–infant synchrony. Curr. Dir. Psy-
chol. Sci. 16: 340–345.
56. Longhi, E. 2009. “Songese”: maternal structuring of musical
interaction with infants. Psychol. Music 37: 195–213.
57. Mundy, P. & L. Newell. 2007. Attention, joint attention, and
social cognition. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 16: 269–274.
58. Liszkowski, U., M. Carpenter, T. Striano & M. Tomasello.
2006. 12- and 18-month-olds point to provide information
for others. Cognition 7: 173–187.
59. Liszkowski, U., M. Carpenter & M. Tomasello. 2008. Twelve-
month-olds communicate helpfully and appropriately for
knowledgeable and ignorant partners. Cognition 108: 732–
60. D’Entremont, B. & D. Muir. 1999. Infant responses to adult
happy and sad vocal and facial expressions during face-to-
face interactions. Infant Behav. Dev. 22: 527–539.
61. Grossmann, T., T. Striano & A.D. Friederici. 2007. Develop-
mental changes in infants’ processing of happy and angry
facial expressions: a neurobehavioral study. Brain Cogn. 64:
62. Haviland, J.M. & M. Lelwica. 1987. The induced affect re-
sponse: 10-week-old infants’ responses to three emotion ex-
pressions. Dev. Psychol. 23: 97–104.
63. Farroni, T., G. Csibra, F. Simion & M.H. Johnson. 2002. Eye
contact detection in humans from birth. Proc. Natl. Acad.
Sci. U.S.A. 99: 9602–9605.
64. Mahajan, N., & K. Wynn. 2012. Origins of “us” versus
“them”: prelinguistic infants prefer similar others. Cogni-
tion 124: 227–233. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.05.003.
65. Hamlin, J.K., K. Wynn & P. Bloom. 2007. Social evaluation
by preverbal infants. Nature 450: 557–559.
66. Hamlin, J.K., K. Wynn & P. Bloom. 2010. Three-month-old
infants show a negativity bias in social evaluation. Dev. Sci.
13: 923–929.
67. Warneken, F. & M. Tomasello. 2006. Altruistic helping in
human infants and young chimpanzees. Science 311: 1301–
68. Warneken, F. & M. Tomasello. 2009. The roots of human
altruism. Br. J. Psychol. 100: 445–471.
69. Warneken, F. & M. Tomasello. 2007. Helping and coopera-
tion at 14 months of age. Infancy 11: 271–294.
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
Interpersonal synchrony and social development Trainor & Cirelli
70. Cirelli, L.K., K.M. Einarson & L.J. Trainor. 2014. Interper-
sonal synchrony increases prosocialbehavior in infants. Dev.
Sci. 17: 1003–1011.
71. Cirelli, L.K., S. Wan & L.J. Trainor. 2014. Fourteen-month-
old infants use interpersonal synchrony as a cue to direct
helpfulness. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 369: 20130400.
72. Rothbart, M.K. 1981. Measurement of temperament in in-
fancy. Child Dev. 52: 569–578.
73. Brown, S. 2000. “Evolutionary models of music: from sexual
selection to group selection.” In Persp ectives in Et hology.
F. Ton n e a u & N . S . T h o m p s o n , E d s . : 2 3 1 2 8 1 . New York:
Plenum Press.
74. Wan,S., L. Cirelli, S. Drouin & L.J. Trainor. 2014. How inter-
personal synchrony directs infant helpfulness to encourage
group cohesion. September 27, 2014. Presented at the 10th
NeuroMusic Conference, McMaster University, Hamilton,
75. Langlois, J.H. & L. Roggman. 1987. Infant preferences for
attractive faces: rudiments of a stereotype? Dev. Psychol. 23:
76. Schachner, A. & E. Hannon. 2011. Infant-directed speech
drives social preferences in 5-month-old infants. Dev. Psy-
chol. 47: 19–25.
77. Dunfield, K.A. & V.A. Kuhlmeier. 2010. Intention-
mediated selective helping in infancy. Psychol. Sci. 21: 523–
78. Hamlin, J.K.& K. Wynn. 2012. Young infants prefer prosocial
to antisocial others. Cogn. Dev. 26: 30–39.
52 Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 45–52 C2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
... Corroborating these effects, during the Covid-19 pandemic, parents also reported increased parent-child attachment as they engaged more often in musical activities (Steinberg et al., 2021). These findings support social bonding as an important function of caregivers' and infants' early musical interactions (Trainor & Cirelli, 2015;Savage et al., 2021). While singing per se can be related to all the aforementioned socio-emotional effects on caregivers, we suggest that these effects could also be related to information transferred from the children back to the caregivers during musical interaction. ...
... Furthermore, processing rhythmic and prosodic information, which involves both pitch and timing dimensions, is crucial for language acquisition as it enables the segmentation of streams (Trainor & Adams, 1996) into meaningful chunks (Menn et al., 2022). Further, timing-related processing is suggested to be especially important for interpersonal behavioral coordination (Trainor & Cirelli, 2015) and proto-conversations (Gratier et al., 2015;V. Nguyen et al., 2022). ...
... The importance of rhythmic coordination for social development is perhaps more obvious in older infants as they can engage directly in social behaviors -such as helpingthat are beyond the capabilities of younger infants. For example, fourteen-month-old infants are more likely to help a stranger (and friends of the stranger) if the stranger had just bounced in synchrony with the infant (i.e., bouncing at the same rate, either in-phase or anti-phase) than if they bounced out-of-sync with them (Cirelli, Einarson, et al., 2014;Cirelli, Wan, et al., 2014Trainor & Cirelli, 2015). While synchronous bouncing without music is enough to elicit infants' prosocial behavior, infants helped more quickly and showed more positive affect in the presence of music compared to nature sounds (Cirelli et al., 2017). ...
Full-text available
A growing body of research shows that the universal capacity for music perception and production emerges early in development. Possibly building on this predisposition, caregivers around the world often communicate with infants using songs or speech entailing song-like characteristics. This suggests that music might be one of the earliest developing and most accessible forms of interpersonal communication, providing a platform for studying early communicative behavior. However, little research has examined music in truly communicative contexts. The current work aims to facilitate the development of experimental approaches that rely on dynamic and naturalistic social interactions. We first review two longstanding lines of research that examine musical interactions by focusing either on the caregiver or the infant. These include defining the acoustic and non-acoustic features that characterize infant-directed (ID) music, as well as behavioral and neurophysiological research examining infants’ processing of musical timing and pitch. Next, we review recent studies looking at early musical interactions holistically. This research focuses on how caregivers and infants interact using music to achieve co-regulation, mutual engagement, and increase affiliation and prosocial behavior. We conclude by discussing methodological, technological, and analytical developments that might empower a comprehensive study of musical communication in early childhood.
... Importantly, regularities in musical rhythm provide a temporal reference to coordinate large groups of people, even when they are not in direct physical contact . Such interpersonal movement synchrony, which has been causally linked to synchrony of brain oscillations (Novembre et al., 2017), is a key component of social behavior and interpersonal bonding across different stages of human development (Cirelli et al., 2014;Hove and Risen, 2009;Miles et al., 2009;Rennung and Göritz, 2016;Trainor and Cirelli, 2015), and is seen across all cultures, often related to rituals (Clayton et al., 2020;Dissanayake, 2006;Merker et al., 2009;Rubin, 1995;Turner, 2015). ...
Full-text available
Studies of rhythm processing and of reward have progressed separately, with little connection between the two. However, consistent links between rhythm and reward are beginning to surface, with research suggesting that synchronization to rhythm is rewarding, and that this rewarding element may in turn also boost this synchronization. The current mini review shows that the combined study of rhythm and reward can be beneficial to better understand their independent and combined roles across two central aspects of cognition: 1) learning and memory, and 2) social connection and interpersonal synchronization; which have so far been studied largely independently. From this basis, it is discussed how connections between rhythm and reward can be applied to learning and memory and social connection across different populations, taking into account individual differences, clinical populations, human development, and animal research. Future research will need to consider the rewarding nature of rhythm, and that rhythm can in turn boost reward, potentially enhancing other cognitive and social processes.
... Synchronous activity has an impact on empathy assessed as prosocial behavior. In humans, studies demonstrate that synchronized movement positively affects affiliation (Kokal et al., 2011) as well as cooperation (Trainor and Cirelli, 2015). In a recent article called "Higher empathy is associated with stronger social bonding when moving together with music" (Stupacher et al., 2021), the authors accounts for a series of experiments enlightening the claim in the title. ...
Full-text available
This article is an answer to a report called “What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being?” The authors conclude that the arts have an impact on mental and physical health. Yet, the question of the role of the arts remains unanswered. What is and what is not an art effect? Recently, embodied theory has inspired articles on the perception of art. These articles have not yet received attention in the field of Arts and Health. Scholars in psychosomatic medicine have argued for an approach based on recent work in enactive embodied theory to investigate the connection between the body and the mind. The present article examines how key concepts in this theory relate to art. This leads to a discussion of art in terms of empathy—the relation between the internal state of the artist and the internal state of the beholder. I exemplify with a conceptual framework of musical empathy. Implications for health are addressed.
... As teachers and learners in this workshop, the collaborative process we engaged in led us to achieve states of flow where we moved together as we improvised music and shared ideas openly, learning about ourselves and each other. This experience is consistent with research that shows collaborative music improvisation and synchronous movement build trust, cooperation, and empathy among people (Trainor & Cirelli, 2015). It is an example of students and teachers engaging in an authentic task (improvising music) in a manner similar to professionals in the field (as in professional musicians at a jam session) in a setting where the focus is on the process of learning together. ...
... Indeed, musical elements in parent-child communication are believed to influence a range of developmental processes, including speech (Politimou et al., 2019) and social bonding (Bergeson & Trehub, 1999;Fancourt & Perkins, 2018;Trevarthen, 2020), throughout infancy and childhood. Specifically, musical child-parent interactions, including singing and synchronous movement, are thought to affect language acquisition (McMullen & Saffran, 2004) and prosocial behaviors (Cirelli et al., 2017;Kirschner & Tomasello, 2010;Trainor & Cirelli, 2015). Such observations support theories of musical interactions as manifestations of an embodied language (Dell'Anna et al., 2021), which suggest inextricable links that connect the domains of music, language, and social interaction. ...
Full-text available
Singing and playing musical instruments is seen as beneficial for parent-child relationships. Using longitudinal data from the German Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (Pairfam) we investigate the role of specific facets of parent-child relationships as predictors of family musical activity, namely Intimacy, that is, the degree of mutual sharing of thoughts and feelings, Admiration, that is, positive affirmative attitudes, and Prosocial Behavior, that is, showing empathy and consideration for others. Study 1 included responses from a total of N = 1,339 parents (71% mothers) and N = 1,783 children (52% male), and Study 2 differentiates between specific subsamples of parent-child relations. Data were submitted to a series of regression models. Study 1 showed that higher values of Intimacy were associated with greater music activities for both parent and child even when general levels of music activities decreased over time. Study 2 addressed cases in which mothers and fathers independently assessed the same child. The results showed similar patterns of association for both parents and children across studies. In addition, mothers perceived higher levels of family music activities than did fathers. Finally, high levels of Intimacy were associated with increased family music activity against the general trend of decline. Taken together, a strong and consistent pattern of a positive relationship between, on the one hand, mutual parent-child perceptions of trust and confidence, that is, Intimacy, and on the other hand, music activity, was found. These results confirm and extend earlier work to suggest a certain role of the quality of family relationships in pursuing musical activities from childhood to adolescence.
... Turning now to the social consequences of interpersonal synchronisation, this topic has attracted considerable research attention due to its significant social and educational implications. Moving, tapping, or playing music in synchrony with others encourages group cohesion (Vicaria & Dickens, 2016) and prosocial behaviour (Mogan et al., 2017;Rennung & Göritz, 2016), even at an early age when motor coordination abilities have yet to develop (Cirelli et al., 2014;Trainor & Cirelli, 2015). A few examples of the positive social outcomes of interpersonal synchronisation in adult and children's joint musical and non-musical actions are increased cooperation (Wiltermuth & Heath, 2009), feelings of closeness (Stupacher et al., 2017), enhanced affiliation (Hove & Risen, 2009), and increased perceived similarity (Rabinowitch & Knafo-Noam, 2015). ...
Full-text available
The positive prosocial outcomes deriving from interpersonal synchronisation, as well as the contribution of social skills in attaining synchronisation with others in musical group interactions, are commonly explored independently, overlooking the possibility of a simultaneous bidirectional relationship between musical and social behaviour. This article focuses on the relationship between empathy and interpersonal synchronisation, critically reviewing each directionality of this intriguing link, namely, how empathy contributes to the socio-cognitive skills required to achieve synchronisation with others, and how this synchronised interaction lays the groundwork for the development of empathy. Following this review and building upon relevant research in music and social psychology, a theoretical framework is proposed, arguing that during a musical group interaction, empathy and interpersonal synchronisation create a positive feedback loop, enhancing one another in a reciprocal and simultaneous manner. The circumstances that encourage or obstruct this feedback loop, as well as its significant implications, are discussed. Finally, the present work highlights the importance of switching the research focus from unilateral to bidirectional relationships in order to gain a deeper understanding of the interrelation between musical and social behaviour.
... The study of music is a natural fit to MoBI, which has been successfully applied to studies of individual and group musical behavior (Maidhof et al., 2014) toward understanding of interpersonal interactions among performers (Chang et al., 2018;Varlet et al., 2020), between performer and audience (Swarbrick et al., 2018), and among audience listeners and dancers. Cooperative musical and dance interactions involve developing trust (Stupacher et al., 2013;Trainor and Cirelli, 2015), are positively related to interpersonal empathy (Novembre et al., 2019), and can be effective for the communication of intentions and emotion through movement (Leslie et al., 2014). A recent study showed that cooperative musical interactions led to long-lasting changes in interbrain phase coherence (Khalil et al., 2022), perhaps indicative of a lasting cooperative set. ...
The neuroscience of music and music-based interventions (MBIs) is a fascinating but challenging research field. While music is a ubiquitous component of every human society, MBIs may encompass listening to music, performing music, music-based movement, undergoing music education and training, or receiving treatment from music therapists. Unraveling the brain circuits activated and influenced by MBIs may help us gain better understanding of the therapeutic and educational values of MBIs by gathering strong research evidence. However, the complexity and variety of MBIs impose unique research challenges. This article reviews the recent endeavor led by the National Institutes of Health to support evidence-based research of MBIs and their impact on health and diseases. It also highlights fundamental challenges and strategies of MBI research with emphases on the utilization of animal models, human brain imaging and stimulation technologies, behavior and motion capturing tools, and computational approaches. It concludes with suggestions of basic requirements when studying MBIs and promising future directions to further strengthen evidence-based research on MBIs in connections with brain circuitry. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Music and music-based interventions (MBI) engage a wide range of brain circuits and hold promising therapeutic potentials for a variety of health conditions. Comparative studies using animal models have helped in uncovering brain circuit activities involved in rhythm perception, while human imaging, brain stimulation, and motion capture technologies have enabled neural circuit analysis underlying the effects of MBIs on motor, affective/reward, and cognitive function. Combining computational analysis, such as prediction method, with mechanistic studies in animal models and humans may unravel the complexity of MBIs and their effects on health and disease.
Este livro apresenta uma temática recente que tem despertado, cada vez mais, o interesse do público em geral: as profundas relações entre música e autismo. Considerada uma das principais ferramentas das neurociências para a compreensão do cérebro humano, a música tem se configurado como uma forma singular e eficaz de intervenção no enfrentamento dos desafios advindos do autismo, tanto pelo viés terapêutico (Musicoterapia) quanto pelo viés pedagógico (Educação Musical). Música e Autismo dialogam, aqui, de modo transdisciplinar com a Ciência, com a Musicoterapia e com a Educação Musical, o que permite amplo acesso ao livro por profissionais das mais diversas áreas. Assim, esse diálogo a 5 vozes busca desvendar o fascínio que a música exerce em todos nós, principalmente nos autistas.
Exploring non-linguistic predictors of phonological awareness, such as musical beat perception, is valuable for children who present with language difficulties and diverse support needs. Studies on the musical abilities of children on the autism spectrum show that they have average or above-average musical production and auditory processing abilities. This study aimed to explore the relationship between musical beat perception and phonological awareness skills of children on the autism spectrum with a wide range of cognitive abilities. A total of 21 autistic children between the ages of 6 to 11 years old (M = 8.9, SD = 1.5) with full scale IQs ranging from 52 to 105 (M = 74, SD = 16) completed a beat perception and a phonological awareness task. Results revealed that phonological awareness and beat perception are positively correlated for children on the autism spectrum. Findings lend support to the potential use of beat and rhythm perception as a screening tool for early literacy skills, specifically for phonological awareness, for children with diverse support needs as an alternative to traditional verbal tasks that tend to underestimate the potential of children on the autism spectrum.
Music is both universal, appearing in every known human culture, and culture-specific, often defying intelligibility across cultural boundaries. This duality has been the source of debate within the broad community of music researchers, and there have been significant disagreements both on the ontology of music as an object of study and the appropriate epistemology for that study. To help resolve this tension, I present a culture-cognition-mediator model that situates music as a mediator in the mutually constitutive cycle of cultures and selves representing the ways individuals both shape and are shaped by their cultural environments. This model draws on concepts of musical grammars and schema, contemporary theories in developmental and cultural psychology that blur the distinction between nature and nurture, and recent advances in cognitive neuroscience. Existing evidence of both directions of causality is presented, providing empirical support for the conceptual model. The epistemological consequences of this model are discussed, specifically with respect to transdisciplinarity, hybrid research methods, and several potential empirical applications and testable predictions as well as its import for broader ontological conversations around the evolutionary origins of music itself.
Full-text available
The ubiquity of songs is at odds with the prevailing view that music has no survival value (e.g., Granit, 1977; Winner, 1982). In particular, the widespread use of songs in child care (Trehub & Schellenberg, 1995) raises questions about their form and function, historically and cross-culturally, and their special link to caregiving. In the present review of singing to infants, we pursue two rather divergent approaches: one descriptive, the other empirical. The descriptive and historical material on songs, which is drawn primarily from anthropological and ethnomusicological sources, provides a context for the limited body of empirical research on songs for infants. Indeed, the descriptive evidence seems to suggest that the practice of singing to infants and many details of song form are rooted in ancient traditions that have survived industrialization and urbanization.
Full-text available
Music is a complex communication system that takes children many years to master. We first consider musical development as it occurs in a social context, beginning with interactions between parents and infants. We then examine how children become enculturated listeners through everyday experiences, developing brain circuits specialized for the pitch, rhythmic, and emotional structures of their culture’s music. We review the development of singing production, from infants’ initial cooing to the high degree of sensorimotor coordination achieved by accurate singers. Last, we consider the effects of formal musical training on musical development as well as on other cognitive domains such as language and mathematics. Across these domains, there is evidence for some very early-developing, perhaps innate, abilities. At the same time, developmental trajectories are protracted, with adult levels not achieved for many years. Finally, there is much evidence that particular musical experience and formal training have large effects on musical outcome.
Full-text available
Development of a caretaker-report instrument of the assessment of infant temperament is described, and longitudinal findings are reported. Temperament dimensions were selected for investigation from the work of Thomas, Chess et al., Escalona, Diamond, and others. Conceptual analysis of scale definitions was carried out to eliminate conceptual overlap of scales, and item analysis was performed for 463 Infant Behavior Questionnaires filled out for 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month-old subjects. Scales with adequate psychometric and conceptual properties were developed for the following dimensions: activity level, soothability, fear, distress to limitations, smiling and laughter, and duration of orienting. In longitudinal analyses, activity level and smiling and laughter scales revealed stability from 3 through 12 months, duration of orienting and soothability showed less general stability, and fear and distress to limitations showed stability only beyond the age of 6 months.
Full-text available
Musical behaviours such as dancing, singing and music production, which require the ability to entrain to a rhythmic beat, encourage high levels of inter- personal coordination. Such coordination has been associated with increased group cohesion and social bonding between group members. Previously, we demonstrated that this association influences even the social behaviour of 14-month-old infants. Infants were significantly more likely to display help- fulness towards an adult experimenter following synchronous bouncing compared with asynchronous bouncing to music. The present experiment was designed to determine whether interpersonal synchrony acts as a cue for 14-month-olds to direct their prosocial behaviours to specific individuals with whom they have experienced synchronous movement, or whether it acts as a social prime, increasing prosocial behaviour in general. Consistent with the previous results, infants were significantly more likely to help an experimenter following synchronous versus asynchronous movement with this person. Furthermore, this manipulation did not affect infant’s behaviour towards a neutral stranger, who was not involved in any move- ment experience. This indicates that synchronous bouncing acts as a social cue for directing prosociality. These results have implications for how musical engagement and rhythmic synchrony affect social behaviour very early in development.
Two experiments investigated the proclivity of 14-month-old infants (a) to altruistically help others toward individual goals, and (b) to cooperate toward a shared goal. The infants helped another person by handing over objects the other person was unsuccessfully reaching for, but did not help reliably in situations involving more complex goals. When a programmed adult partner interrupted a joint cooperative activity at specific moments, infants sometimes tried to reengage the adult, perhaps indicating that they understood the interdependency of actions toward a shared goal. However, as compared to 18- and 24-month-olds, their skills in behaviorally coordinating their actions with a social partner remained rudimentary. Results are integrated into a model of cooperative activities as they develop over the 2nd year of life.
Ever since the publication of Darwin’s Descent of Man in 1871, the survival value of music for the individual has been placed into question. Darwin’s solution to this problem was to argue that music evolved by sexual selection as a courtship device to increase reproductive success. He envisioned music as functioning analogously to the courtship songs and advertisement calls of many animal species, most of which are performed exclusively by males during a breeding season. However Darwin’s thinking predated the comparative study of world music-cultures, which developed only in the late 19th century. The 20th century anthropological study of music has been overwhelmingly group-functionalist in its thinking. Music is almost exclusively described in terms of its manifold roles in supporting group function—with regard to both within-group cooperation and between-group competitiveness. In this essay, I criticize the sexual selection model of music and attempt to channel the group-functionalist thinking of the ethnomusicology literature into a group selection model. Music is a powerful device for promoting group identity, cognition, coordination and catharsis, and it has a host of design features that reflect its strong role in supporting cooperation and synchronization at the group level, features such as the capacity for pitch blending and the use of isometric rhythms. I argue that music and group rituals co-evolved during human evolution such that ritual developed as an information system and music its reinforcement system. Music is a type of social “reward” system, analogous to the neuromodulatory systems of the brain. This view accounts for music’s universal association to ritual activities as well as its psychologically rewarding properties.
Two studies, one with 2- to 3-month-olds and one with 6- to 8-month-olds, were conducted to examine infant preferences for attractive faces. A standard visual preference technique was used in which infants were shown pairs of color slides of the faces of adult women previously rated by other adults for attractiveness. The results showed that both the older and younger infants looked longer at attractive faces when the faces were presented in contrasting pairs of attractiveness (attractive/unattractive). When the faces were presented in pairs of similar levels of attractiveness (attractive/attractive vs. unattractive/unattractive) the older but not the younger infants looked longer at attractive faces. The results challenge the commonly held assumption that standards of attractiveness are learned through gradual exposure to the current cultural standard of beauty and are merely "in the eye of the beholder.".
This study investigated the effects of two components of group singing—music and activity—on trust and cooperation. Relationships between (a) music and trust and (b) activity and cooperation were predicted. Group singing was expected to yield the highest trust and cooperation scores, indicating interaction effects between music and activity vis-à-vis each of the two dependent variables. The latter were measured with the Giffin-Trust-Differential (trust) and the Prisoner's Dilemma game (cooperation). A 2 × 2 (music/activity × trust/cooperation) factorial design was employed. Four groups (n = 24 each) of adult Israeli males participated in a single session of one of the following activities: group singing (music/activity), listening to music (music/no activity), poetry reading (no music/activity), and film viewing (no music/no activity). Results confirmed the predictions for the effects of music on trust and of activity on cooperation. No interaction effects were found. The discussion focused on implications concerning the use of music interventions in therapy.