Dr Bahar Tunçgenç

Bahar Tunçgenç

Postdoctoral Associate

Email: bahar.tuncgenc@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Education: DPhil Anthropology (ICEA, University of Oxford)
Thesis title: Movement synchrony, social bonding and pro-sociality in ontogeny (Supervisor: Dr Emma Cohen; Examiners: Dr Sabine Hunnius, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Bahaviour, and Dr Jonathan Jong, Coventry University).

BSc Psychology & Biology minor (Middle East Technical University)

MSc Cognitive Science (Middle East Technical University)

General research Interests: Developmental, cross-cultural and evolutionary aspects of psychological mechanisms for social cognition and cooperation.

Current Research: A largely under-explored topic in child development is the intricate connections between motor, social and cognitive domains. In an attempt to bridge the gap and shed light on human cooperation, my research is looking at the relation between rhythmical, synchronous performances and the development of pro-sociality. Performing rhythmically coordinated movements is an integral part of human behaviour. Such synchronous performances, as observed in music making or marching, have been shown to increase bonding and facilitate cooperation in groups of adults. Infants are also sensitive to rhythmical stimuli from birth onwards and remarkable coordination is observed in their interactions with their caretakers.

My aim in this research is to understand how movement synchrony influences cooperation during early development. I am particularly investigating whether and under which conditions synchronous interactions are more preferable and how they have an effect on pro-sociality in infants as well as in children. 


Tunçgenç, B. and Cohen, E. (In press). Interpersonal movement synchrony facilitates helping among peers. Developmental Science.

Tunçgenç, B. (In press). Movement synchrony, joint actions and collective agency in infancy. In N. Enfield & P. Kockelman (Eds.) Distributed Agency. Oxford University Press.

Tunçgenç, B. (2016). Commentary: A construct divided: Prosocial behavior as helping, sharing, and comforting subtypes. Frontiers in Psychology 7 (491).

Tunçgenç, B. and Cohen, E. (2016). Movement synchrony forges social bonds across group divides. Frontiers in Psychology 7 (782). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00782

Tunçgenç, B., Cohen, E., & Fawcett, C. (2015). Rock with me: The role of movement synchrony in infants‘ social and non-social choices. Child Development 86 (3). doi: 10.1111/cdev.12354

Tunçgenç, B., Hohenberger, A., Rakoczy, H. (2015). Early understanding of normativity and freedom to act in Turkish toddlers. Journal of Cognition and Development 16(1), 44-54, doi 10.1080/15248372.2013.815622

Tunçgenç, B. (2010). Towards a comprehensive socio-psychological perspective: A critique of social dominance theory. Journal of European Psychology Students 2, 1-8. 

Talks and Presentations:

Tunçgenç, B. (2016, October). Movement synchrony, social bonding and pro-sociality in ontogeny. Talk given to Uppsala University Child & Baby Lab, Uppsala, Sweden.

Tunçgenç, B. and Cohen, E. (2016, September). Movement Synchrony Fosters Social Bonding in Group Settings. Talk given at British Psychological Society Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference, Belfast, UK.

Tunçgenç, B. (2016, June). Inter-group bonding via movement synchrony. Poster presented at Aegina Summer School for Social Cognition, Aegina, Greece.

Tunçgenç, B., Cohen, E., & Fawcett, C. (2015, March). Are infants’ social preferences grounded in action synchrony? In van Schaik (Chair). The social effects of interpersonal coordination in young children: Synchrony, mimicry, and entrainment. Symposium conducted at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Tunçgenç, B., Cohen, E., & Fawcett, C. (2015, January). Social influences of action synchrony in young children. In Tuncgenc, B (Chair). Interrelations between motor and social development in infancy and early childhood. Symposium conducted at the Budapest CEU Conference on cognitive Development, Budapest, Hungary.

Tunçgenç, B., Cohen, E., & Fawcett, C. (2014, July). Rock with me: The role of action synchrony in infants’ social and non-social choices. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Berlin, Germany.

Tunçgenç, B. (2014, April). Are infants’ social preferences grounded in action synchrony? Invited talk at retreat on Foundations of Social Agency, Munich, Germany.

Tunçgenç, B., Hohenberger, A. & Rakoczy, H. (2013, September). Early understanding of normativity and free will in Turkish toddlers. In Hohenberger, A (Chair), The development of understanding of normativity in a cross-cultural perspective. Symposium conducted at the European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Tunçgenç, B., & Köksal, Ö. (2009, June). Encoding and retrieval of unattended auditory stimuli in natural settings. Poster presented at the Congress of Graduate Psychology Students, Istanbul, Turkey.

List of site pages