In the mood: concert audiences synchronise pulses and breathing when music moves them

Rhys Blakely

The Times (UK)



The musicians on stage are not the only people in tune with each other during a classical concert — so is their audience, a study has shown.

When a group of volunteers listened to a string quintet, their pulse rates became synchronised as did the rates at which they breathed, researchers found.

The electrical conductivity of their skin — a measure of how excited the audience members were — followed a similar pattern.

The extent of these changes seemed to provide an insight into character, with the study finding that individuals who rated more highly for personality traits such as agreeableness and openness were more likely to synchronise with each other.

The researchers suggest that the results shed light on what they call “the embodiment (…)