Does Social Interaction Activate Music Listeners?

  • Leen De Bruyn
  • Marc Leman
  • Dirk Moelants
  • Michiel Demey
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5493)


Over the last years, embodiment has gained a lot of interest in the field of music research. Researchers began to focus on the study of body movements and gestures in relationship with music. In the study presented here, we empirically quantified the impact of social interaction on movements made by groups of subjects listening and moving to music. Both children (average age 9) and adolescents (average age 16) were tested. The methodology was based on motion capturing using wireless Wii Nintendo Remote sensors, and subsequent statistical analysis. Participants were asked to move along with the beat of the music in two conditions: Individual, without social contact, and in groups of four, encouraging social interaction. Data analysis shows that the influence of the social environment has an effect that can be measured and quantified. In general, the social context stimulates participants to move more intensively to the music. Furthermore, adolescent participants even show a significantly improved synchronization with the beat of the music in the social condition, illustrating social facilitation.


Music Embodiment Synchronization Social interaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leen De Bruyn
    • 1
  • Marc Leman
    • 1
  • Dirk Moelants
    • 1
  • Michiel Demey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Musicology – IPEMGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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