Jacob Taylor

Jacob Taylor

Postdoctoral Affiliate

Research Interests: Jacob researches the bi-directional relationship between on-field coordination and psychological affiliation in interactive team sports.  For his doctoral research,  Jacob conducted ethnographic and experimental studies with with professional rugby players in Beijing, China.  Jacob is interested in the cognitive and evolutionary mechanisms that can account for the often mysticised “click” or “flow" of joint-action in competitive sport, and the possibility that basal human capacities for coordinating movement enable or disable cooperation within groups.  Jacob is particularly interested in the ability of nonlinear theories (e.g., the Free Energy Principle) to explain multi-scale coordination dynamics of human cognitive systems, from brain cells to communities. 

Jacob has a background in professional sport, representing his home country of Australia in rugby sevens (2009-12). He also speaks Chinese, having spent a number of the last 10 years studying and working in China. 

Jacob’s research has been funded by a Rhodes Scholarship (2013 NSW & Keble/St John’s), a small grant from the Peter Lienhardt Memorial Fund and Philip Bagby Fund
 at the University of Oxford, a Santander Travel Grant, and a special grant from St John’s College, Oxford.

Other research interests: Non-linear system dynamics of human movement and coordination, sport in China, optimal human performance.


Taylor, J. & Cohen, E (in preparation). “A free energy approach to social bonding through joint action: evidence from a professional Chinese rugby tournament”.

Taylor, J., & Cohen, E (in preparation). “A free energy approach to multi-scale coordination in joint action”.

Taylor, J. (in preparation) “Ethnographic evidence for relationship between joint action and social bonding among professional Chinese rugby players”.

Taylor, J. & Davis A. (In press). “Social Cohesion”. International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology 

Davis A., Taylor, J., & Cohen E. (2016). “Moving in sync allows the body to do things it couldn’t do alone.” Aeon Magazine 

Davis, A., Taylor, J., & Cohen, E. (2015). “Social bonds and exercise: Evidence for a reciprocal relationship.” Plos One, 10(8)

“Social Bonds & Exercise” (Presentation), Human Behaviour & Evolution Society Conference, 2016

“Do people who move together bond together?” Oxford University Social Science Video Explainer, 2016

Email: jacob.taylor@anthro.ox.ac.uk
Website: The Social Body Lab