Traveling groups stick together: How collective directional movement influences social cohesion
Dolan, Lynsey C.
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Wilson, S., Bassiou, E., Denli, A., Dolan, L. C. and Watson, M. (2018) Traveling groups stick together: How collective directional movement influences social cohesion. Evolutionary Psychology, 16 (3).
We tested the hypothesis that the social act of moving through space with others - collective directional movement - is associated with greater levels of group cohesion compared to static activities. We asked participants to imagine participating in activities as part of a same-sex group and found that imagining going on a journey is associated with higher levels of expected cohesion compared to imagining attending a meeting (Study 1) or an event (Study 2). Study 3 replicates the main effect using different manipulations and finds that it persists regardless of whether the imagined group were friends or strangers. Two further studies employed real-world tasks and show that the effect is not a consequence of goal ascription (Study 4) or synchrony/exertion (Study 5). We argue that the link between this activity and cohesion is a consequence of its ubiquity in social ecologies and the interdependence and shared common fate of those engaged in it.