Synchronized movement is powerful. Consider a marching band, the Rockettes and all those Busby Berkeley chorines doing their synchronized dance routines. Moving in tandem with others facilitates social bonding and affiliation.
It also works one on one and explains why taking a walk, hand in hand, is so good for your relationship. Synchronized movement bolsters connection and builds trust with a partner. Dancing, kayaking and jogging together are other in-step relationship builders.
Research shows synchronization can even make people feel warmly towards a stranger—participants in a study who were asked to tap their finger in time with the experimenter’s finger, reported liking that person more. The coordinated movement blurs the boundaries between us and the other person.
In addition to enhancing your relationship, synchronized movement has been shown to build self-esteem. As the researchers conclude:
“It appears that the way in which an individual moves in relation to a partner (i.e., whether they intentionally synchronize with their movements or not) can have a influence on how they feel about themselves, as well as how they perceive their connection (i.e., self-other overlap) with their partner. Of note, it appears that keeping in time with others may be a better means to feel good about ourselves than moving to our own beat.”
So much for marching to the beat of your own drum.