Singing Together Makes Hearts Beat Together (It’s Science!)

When you sing a song with another person, both of your hearts are probably beating in unison, based on a study from 2013.

The LSU Gospel choir (source: lsu.edu)

I know, it sounds like a cheesy idea from a rom-com, but it’s physiologically true.

Swedish researchers studied the heart rates of high school choir members while they sang. And what they found is pretty amazing — singing is calming, especially when singing in a group. And the heart rates of choir members begin to synchronize with each other.

The researchers put pulse monitors on the singers’ ears and looked at the pulse rates as the choir sang a Swedish hymn (with several-part harmonies). As they began to sing together, their heart rates slowed down.

“When you sing the phrases, it is a form of guided breathing,” says musicologist Bjorn Vickhoff, the leader of this study. “You exhale on the phrases and breathe in between the phrases. When you exhale, the heart slows down.”

But what stood out was that, almost immediately, ever singer’s heart rate synchronized with its neighbor’s.

Crowd singing together at a John Mark McMillan concert:

The pulse rate monitor started as a bunch of jiggly, messy lines, but then morphed into uniform peaks. That meant the heart rates were aligning with each other in beat with the song’s tempo.

“It’s a beautiful way to feel. You are not alone but with others who feel the same way,” Vickhoff says.

You’re not alone.

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