Dr Joshua Bamford

joshua bamford

Postdoctoral Affiliate

Joshua Bamford is working with The Social Body Lab within the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion.

Joshua S. Bamford is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Centre for Excellence in Music, Mind, Body and Brain at the University of Jyväskylä, and is an affiliated researcher with the Social Body Lab in Oxford. Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Joshua’s earliest work was as a field assistant to his ecologist parents, mostly looking for rare spiders. He also worked as a singer for West Australian Opera and as a circus skills instructor. Joshua has a varied background in ecology, musicology, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology which informs a broad, interdisciplinary view of human behaviour.

His research primarily concerns the evolutionary functions of music and dance. Joshua’s doctoral thesis tested the social bonding effects of behavioural synchrony. Subsequent research interests include: the use of music in romantic relationships, the role of music and sports in social-emotional development, social bonding processes in online communities, and the quantitative measurement of dance using motion capture technology. He occasionally can be found in his natural habitat: on the swing dance floor.


DPhil in Anthropology (St Peter’s College, University of Oxford)
MA in Music, Mind and Technology, and Cognitive Neuroscience (University of Jyväskylä; University of Vienna)
BSc/BMus in Psychology and Musicology with First Class Honours (University of Western Australia)

Selected Publications and Presentations

Bannan, N., Dunbar, R. I. M., & Bamford, J. S. (in press). The evolution of gender dimorphism in the human voice: the role of octave equivalence. Current Anthropology.

Bamford, J. S., Burger, B., & Toiviainen, P. (2023). Turning heads on the dance floor: synchrony and social bonding using a silent disco approach. Music & Science, 6.

Hansen, N. C., Treider, J. M. G., Swarbrick, D., Bamford, J. S., Wilson, J., & Vuoskoski, J. K. (2021). A crowd-sourced database of coronamusic: documenting online making and sharing of music during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 12(June), 1–9.

Bamford, J.S. (2021). Multiscale synchrony and the formation of social bonds through ritualised behaviour. In S. Thein-Lemelson & S. Veissiere (Chairs), On the protective dimensions of rituals and rites of passages: bringing classic theories to bear on contemporary studies of resilience [Symposium]. SPA 2021.

Bamford, J. S., & Davidson, J. W. (2019). Trait empathy associated with agreeableness and rhythmic entrainment in a spontaneous movement to music task: preliminary exploratory investigations. Musicae Scientiae, 23(1), 5–24.

Bamford, J. S. (2018). How humans found their groove: social bonding through music-dance. In J. S. Bamford (Chair), Moving in Synchrony and Social Harmony [Symposium]. ICMPC15/ESCOM10. Graz, Austria.