Study cites togetherness through singing

Posted on: July 16, 2010

“Singing together appears to inspire spontaneous cooperative and helpful behavior among 4-year-olds,” writes Tom Jacobs on Wednesday (7/14) at Miller-McCune.com. “Psychologists Sebastian Kirschner and Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig gathered 96 4-year-olds from 16 German day care centers. The youngsters, from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, were broken up into pairs. They then took part in a 20-minute experiment that felt to them like playtime.” Kirschner and Tomasello report that “children who had sang and marched together were more likely to help one another pick up marbles. They were also more likely to choose the cooperative solution to the task…. The researchers conclude that engaging in the ‘shared goal of vocalizing and moving together in time’ strengthened the children’s ‘sense of acting together as a unit.’ Their results support the hypothesis that music—at least in part—evolved as a way of fostering group cohesion, by ‘generating an intuitive feeling of community and bonding among the performers.’ …  Their study not only provides some useful tips for preschool instructors; it also gives some strong clues regarding the role music has played in human history. Harmonizing, it seems, tends to breed harmony.”

Posted July 16, 2010