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Title: The mechanics of group cohesion
Author: von Zimmermann, Jorina Helena
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 4220
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Human history is inherently social and the study of groups is fundamental for understanding what it means to be human. Why do we form groups? How do we make sure that groups remain cohesive social entities and do not fall apart? It is the central aim of this thesis to explore the relationship between individuals and groups with a focus on the mechanisms which produce group cohesion. Researchers from different disciplines agree that studying group cohesion is paramount for understanding group dynamics. Here, group cohesion is not approached in relation to its structural properties, but the focus is directed towards its affective and social components. One of the premises is that cohesion plays a crucial role in the process of group formation. While group cohesion is often discussed in relation to social identity and other higher order cognitive processes, findings from the behavioural coordination literature suggest that there is also a physical dimension to group cohesion. Synchronous actions experienced between pairs or small groups of people have been reported to have pro-social consequences, such as increased liking or cooperation, and to create feelings of unity and similarity between people. However, to this date not many researchers have analysed the role of behavioural coordination or synchrony for the emergence and maintenance of cohesion in larger groups. This thesis aims to contribute to a now growing field, looking at this relationship. Novel data is presented, which shows that synchronous behaviour can have positive effects on levels of intragroup affiliation and unity. Group synchrony is portrayed as an important mechanism, which can enhance and signal cohesion in groups. The positive and negative social consequences of group cohesion are discussed and a novel and innovative research paradigm is presented, which has been developed to aid with the scientific investigation of intra- and intergroup dynamics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available