Jacques Launay


Launay photo.jpg
I completed degrees in Human Sciences (BSc) and Brain and Mind Sciences (MSc) at University College London and École Normale Supérieure (Paris) before studying a PhD on the effects of synchronisation on social bonding at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Before coming to Brunel as a lecturer I undertook postdoctoral work on the evolution of social behaviour at the University of Oxford.


Teaching responsibilities:

Module convenor

  • Music Psychology (in development)

Module contributor

  • Biological Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology

Area of interest:

  • Music psychology
  • The evolution of social behaviour
  • Singing, community and wellbeing

Membership and affiliation

Association for Psychological Science (APS) Member

Editorial Board for Musicae Scientiae


Research interests

My interest is primarily in the social bonding effects of engagement with music. I have looked at different aspects of these effects using methods ranging from cognitive neuroscience to social anthropology, and am currently working on projects to assess the benefits musical activity can have on health, wellbeing and community.

Research centre(s)

Selected Publications

Journal articles

Dunbar, RIM. , Launay, J. , Wlodarski, R. , Robertson, C. , et al.   (2016)   'Functional Benefits of (Modest) Alcohol Consumption'. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology. doi: 10.1007/s40750-016-0058-4 Download publication 

Pearce, E. , Mac Carron, P. , Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2016)   'Tuning in to others: Exploring relational and collective bonding in singing and non-singing groups over time'. Psychology of Music. doi: 10.1177/0305735616667543 Download publication 

Pearce, E. , Launay, J. , Machin, A.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2016)   'Is Group Singing Special? Health, Well-Being and Social Bonds in Community-Based Adult Education Classes Group singing, well-being and social bonds'. Journal of community & applied social psychology. doi: 10.1002/casp.2278 Download publication 

Launay, J. , Tarr, B.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2016)   'Synchrony as an adaptive mechanism for large-scale human social bonding'. Ethology. doi: 10.1111/eth.12528 Download publication 

David-Barrett, T. , Behncke Izquierdo, I. , Carney, J. , Nowak, K. , et al.   (2016)   'Life course similarities on social networking sites'. Advances in Life Course Research. doi: 10.1016/j.alcr.2016.04.002 Download publication 

Pearce, E. , Launay, J. , van Duijn, M. , Rotkirch, A. , et al.   (2016)   'Singing together or apart: The effect of competitive and cooperative singing on social bonding within and between sub-groups of a university Fraternity'. Psychology of Music. doi: 10.1177/0305735616636208 

Tarr, B. , Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2016)   'Silent disco: dancing in synchrony leads to elevated pain thresholds and social closeness'. Evolution and Human Behavior. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.02.004 Download publication 

Launay, J. , Dean, RT.  and Bailes, F.   (2016)   'Rapid learning of associations between sound and action through observed movement: A TMS study.'. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 26 (1).  pp. 35 - 42. doi: 10.1037/pmu0000131 

Wolf, W. , Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2016)   'Joint attention, shared goals, and social bonding'. British Journal of Psychology, 107 (2).  pp. 322 - 337. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12144 

Weinstein, D. , Launay, J. , Pearce, E. , Dunbar, RIM.  and Stewart, L.   (2016)   'Singing and social bonding: Changes in connectivity and pain threshold as a function of group size'. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37 (2).  pp. 152 - 158. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.10.002 Download publication 

Launay, J.   (2015)   'Musical sounds, motor resonance, and detectable agency'. Empirical Musicology Review, 10 (1-2).  pp. 30 - 40. Download publication 

Dunbar, RIM. , Launay, J.  and Curry, O.   (2015)   'The Complexity of Jokes Is Limited by Cognitive Constraints on Mentalizing'. Human Nature. pp. 1 - 11. doi: 10.1007/s12110-015-9251-6 

Launay, J.   (2015)   'Music as a technology for social bonding: Comment on "Music, empathy, and cultural understanding" by E. Clarke et al'. PHYSICS OF LIFE REVIEWS, 15 pp. 94 - 95. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2015.10.004 

Tarr, B. , Launay, J. , Cohen, E.  and Dunbar, R.   (2015)   'Synchrony and exertion during dance independently raise pain threshold and encourage social bonding'. BIOLOGY LETTERS, 11 (10).  pp. . doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0767 Download publication 

Pearce, E. , Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2015)   'The ice-breaker effect: Singing mediates fast social bonding'. Royal Society Open Science, 2 (10).  doi: 10.1098/rsos.150221 Download publication 

Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2015)   'Does implied community size predict likeability of a similar stranger?'. EVOLUTION AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR, 36 (1).  pp. 32 - 37. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.08.005 Download publication 

Launay, J. , Pearce, E. , Wlodarski, R. , van Duijn, M. , et al.   (2015)   'Higher-order mentalising and executive functioning'. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 86 pp. 6 - 14. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.05.021 

Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2015)   'Playing with Strangers: Which Shared Traits Attract Us Most to New People?'. PLOS ONE, 10 (6).  pp. . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129688 Download publication 

Launay, J. , Grube, M.  and Stewart, L.   (2014)   'Dysrhythmia: a specific congenital rhythm perception deficit'. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 5 pp. . doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00018 Download publication 

Launay, J. , Dean, RT.  and Bailes, F.   (2014)   'Evidence for multiple strategies in off-beat tapping with anisochronous stimuli'. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG, 78 (5).  pp. 721 - 735. doi: 10.1007/s00426-013-0513-9 

Tarr, B. , Launay, J.  and Dunbar, RIM.   (2014)   'Music and social bonding: "self-other" merging and neurohorrnonal mechanisms'. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 5 pp. . doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096 Download publication 

Launay, J. , Dean, RT.  and Bailes, F.   (2014)   'Synchronising movements with the sounds of a virtual partner enhances partner likeability'. COGNITIVE PROCESSING, 15 (4).  pp. 491 - 501. doi: 10.1007/s10339-014-0618-0 

Launay, J. , Dean, RT.  and Bailes, F.   (2013)   'Synchronization Can Influence Trust Following Virtual Interaction'. EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, 60 (1).  pp. 53 - 63. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000173 

Page last updated: Tuesday 10 May 2016