Culture and Health

Music and social bonding: “self-other” merging and neurohormonal mechanisms

Music creates and strengthens social bonds important for determining health. The article provides evidence drawn from over 150 studies that supports two mechanisms of social bonding: self-other merging as a consequence of interpersonal synchrony, and the release of endorphins during rhythmic activities. Endorphins are associated with a series of human social behaviors (such as laughter, synchronized sports) as well as musical activities (singing and dancing). Furthermore, passive listening to music engages the EOS and suggests that both self-other merging and the EOS are important in building social bonds.