Come Together: Our Need to Cooperate

From Scientific American:

Synchrony-groups-behavior-cooperate_1 The natural world seems intent on synchronizing. Schools of fish, flocks of birds, herds of wildebeest, and swarms of fireflies all effortlessly coordinate their actions with one another. A recent study published by Scott Wiltermuth and Chip Heath of Stanford University in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that humans are no different. In fact, our ability to synchronize might be one of the most important developments in our evolution as a social species, a skill we need to successfully choreograph our dance moves at parties—and also, perhaps, to live together in stable, cooperative societies.

Examples of the power of human synchrony abound—from the awe-inspiring opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics to the fear-inspiring Nazi military march, to the ridiculous communal dances in which we find ourselves at weddings. Who hasn’t bad-mouthed the chicken dance in the buffet line and then been drawn in by that insufferable staccato? Like a Siren, the allure of synchrony pulls you into the group.

More here.