Callaway Centre Research Seminar

Event details


  • Tunley Lecture Theatre

Date and time

  • Tuesday 1 September 2020 | 5pm

Event type

  • On Campus


  • Community
  • Anyone who likes music
  • Researchers

Event Fee

  • Free


  • No bookings required

Callaway Centre Research Seminar Series

The Conservatorium of Music is a vibrant centre for research in music and music education, where a thriving community of scholars is engaged in exploring the frontiers of knowledge, working on a wide range of research projects with diverse outputs.

Our free weekly seminar series showcases presenters from within UWA and from the wider community.

Joshua Bamford | Music as a tool for social bonding: from 6 MYA to the COVID-19 era

A growing body of literature suggests that synchronised activity (such as in music and dance) may lead to social bonding between individuals and within groups – known as the synchrony-bonding effect. This effect may have given rise to the array of synchronised activity present in all human cultures, as a replacement for the social grooming behaviour that is used to establish bonds in most other primates. Music and dance may be more efficient than grooming by allowing interaction with multiple others simultaneously, and at a distance. In my current research, I investigate the precise cognitive mechanisms that underpin the synchrony-bonding effect, attempting to explain why humans enjoy being in synchrony with others, leading to increased trust and feelings of affiliation. However, COVID restrictions have raised new questions about how people maintain social bonds in times of social distancing. In light of our “new normal”, I will discuss contemporary approaches of music making that attempt to overcome zoom-induced asynchrony.

Bio: An alumnus of UWA, Joshua Bamford's research on the origins of musicality have taken him to Finland, Austria and, most recently, to the UK where he is pursuing a DPhil in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He is currently in Perth as a visiting researcher at the UWA School of Psychological Science. In his spare time he sings opera, conducts folk song choirs, and goes swing dancing.

Free entry - no bookings required

Contact details: [email protected]