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Brief bouts of simple synchronised dancing can help groups of children warm to one another, says a new study. Researchers found this was even the case when children’s feelings about the other group were negative beforehand.

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Around 100 children who took part in the Oxford University study were divided into groups and performed dance-like moves facing one another, wearing headphones for their rhythmic cues. The researchers discovered that children felt closer to other groups when they moved in the same way to the same beats, but there was no increase in bonding with groups that danced differently at another tempo. The study, published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, suggests that even when groups are biased against each other, moving in time with one another can lessen prejudices.   

The children who took part in the experiment were aged from 7 to 12 years old. They were randomly selected to make up two groups of three, with a mix of boys and girls in each. First, children in each group wore similar coloured vests and interacted with each other in areas separate from the other group. The two groups were trained out of sight of each other using this training video produced by the researchers.  

Read more on the University website (opens new window)