According to a study published in the December issue of psychological science
rituals which involve some kind of synchronous activity such as dancing, marching, singing or chanting build cooperation and motivate people to contribute towards the collective good.
The authors detail three studies which show that synchronous activities produce various beneficial outcomes such as strengthening social attachments among group members and increasing cooperation. Though the researchers found that synchronous activity did not make people feel happier they did find that people felt more connected with, and trusting of, others. They authors say that synchronicity may encourage those who tend to shirt collective responsibilities to step up and participate. The authors also say that synchronicity may give some groups an evolutionary advantage over others. To read the article click here.