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Dancing with the Stars: Sibling (A)synchronous Dance, Culture and Cooperation

Dancing with the Stars: Sibling (A)synchronous Dance, Culture and Cooperation

Name:Lo, Julia Ming

School/Affiliation:University of Toronto Scarborough

Co-Authors:Cirelli, Laura

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Previous work has documented a positive correlation between sibling prosociality and their musical play. In the proposed research, we will ask whether contexts that encourage synchronous dance between young siblings directly impact subsequent cooperation, and explore whether culture shapes these children’s propensity to dance. To investigate this, siblings aged 3 and 5 will visit the lab and be invited to enter the “space shuttle” (sound booth) for a “silent disco astronaut party”. Here, both siblings will dance together to either synchronous or asynchronous music presented through separate headphones. Afterwards, the siblings will perform a cooperation task in which they will need to press a button simultaneously to trigger the presentation of a rewarding stimulus. Parents will complete a questionnaire about their children’s relationship quality, their culture’s perspective on dance, and their home musical environment. We predict the sibling pairs who listen to synchronous music will move together more and later be more successful at the cooperation task than sibling pairs listening to asynchronous music. We also predict that children from cultures that encourage higher rates of recreational dancing will show more dancing activity in the lab. This proposed research addresses a gap in the literature by examining how musical play directly affects sibling cooperation, with an added lens of culture. It will also give added insight in how dance and music can influence children’s social interactions within existing relationships.

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