Reshaping social structure Through Performances: Emergent solidarity between actors and observers

van Mourik Broekman, A., Gordijn, E., Koudenburg, N. & Postmes, T., May-2018, In : Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 76, p. 19-32 14 p.

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  • Reshaping social structure through performances

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Based on the interactive model of identity formation (Postmes, Haslam, & Swaab, 2005) we investigate whether displays of coordinated actions foster feelings of solidarity. Participants were randomly assigned to roles of actors and observers in two experiments (N = 191 and 276). Actors performed in an “airband” in which all played air-guitar (enacting mechanical solidarity) or each member played different air-instruments (enacting organic solidarity). In the control condition actors imagined playing (Study 1) or performed individually (Study 2). As predicted, displays of solidarity led to elevated levels of experienced solidarity among actors and observers. As predicted, experiences of organic solidarity were mediated by having a sense of personal value to the group, whereas experiences of mechanical solidarity were not. Interestingly, exploratory evidence suggests that groups who enacted organic solidarity, remained more active throughout a subsequent behavioural task relative to other conditions. This research shows that performing arts are more than just entertainment; performing arts can bring individuals together and shape social structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Early online date9-Dec-2017
Publication statusPublished - May-2018


  • Mechanical solidarity, Organic solidarity, Group formation, Coordinated action, Performing arts, MOVEMENT SYNCHRONY, COOPERATION, IDENTITY, IDENTIFICATION, ENTITATIVITY, PROSOCIALITY, PERFORMERS, PERCEPTION, RAPPORT, IF

ID: 53810998