Bahar completed her BSc in Psychology (with a minor degree in Biology) and MSc in Cognitive Science at the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Her MSc thesis focussed on how toddlers understand and apply social norms. Following this, Bahar earned her PhD degree from the University of Oxford. Her doctoral thesis, supervised by Dr Emma Cohen, focussed on how coordinating movements (e.g., in dance or rhythmic walking) signals affiliation in infancy, and forges social bonds between peers in childhood.
Before moving to NTU in 2021, Bahar conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University and a research fellowship at the University of Nottingham.
What are the origins of our social bonds? How do we come to trust and love other people, and how does having strong social bonds affect our mental wellbeing?
My research aims to answer these questions by examining mechanisms of movement coordination (e.g., imitation, dance) and behavioural alignment (e.g., following social norms). Built primarily on quantitative methods, my approach combines insights from developmental, social, cognitive and evolutionary psychology and anthropology.
More detailed information about Bahar's current research can be found on her personal website: https://www.bahartuncgenc.com
Bahar works with non-academic partners and makes policy recommendations on topics of:
- Social-cognitive development in childhood
- Community cohesion
- Behavioural change and compliance to rules
- Fostering young people's mental health and wellbeing
Bahar is an Associate Editor at Acta Psychologica, and regularly conducts peer reviews for scientific journals.
Sponsors and collaborators
Bahar has received research funding from Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, TORCH Oxford and Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. Bahar works extensively with researchers around the globe. Some of her most recent collaborators include (in alphabetical order):
- Emma Cohen (University of Oxford)
- Ophelia Deroy (Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich)
- Guillaume Dezecache (Université Clermont Auvergne, LAPSCO)
- Adam Eggebrecht (Washington University)
- Inge-Marie Eigsti (University of Connecticut)
- Christine Fawcett (Uppsala University)
- Stefanie Hoehl (University of Vienna)
- Martha Newson (University of Kent)
- Stewart Mostofsky (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
- Katie Slocombe (University of York)
- Justin Sulik (Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich)
- René Vidal (Johns Hopkins University)
- Yi Zhao (Indiana University)
- Howard, E., Ropar, D., Newport, R., & Tunçgenç, B. (2021). Social context facilitates visuomotor synchrony and bonding in children and adults. Nature: Scientific Reports, 11, 22869 doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-02372-2
- Lidstone, D. E., Rochowiak, R., Pacheco, C., Tunçgenç, B., Vidal, R., & Mostofsky, S. (2021). Automated and scalable Computerized Assessment of Motor Imitation (CAMI) in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder using a single 2D camera: A pilot study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 87. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2021.101840
- Newson, M., Zhao, Y., Zein, M. El, Sulik, J., Dezecache, G., Deroy, O., & Tunçgenç, B. (2021). Digital contact does not promote wellbeing, but face-to-face contact does: A cross-national survey during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Media & Society, 1–24. doi: 10.1177/14614448211062164
- Sulik, J., Deroy, O., Dezecache, G., Newson, M., Zhao, Y., Zein, M. El, & Tunçgenç, B. (2021). Facing the pandemic with trust in science. Nature Humanities & Social Sciences Communications, 1–10. doi: 10.1057/s41599-021-00982-9
- Tunçgenç, B., El Zein, M., Sulik, J., Newson, M., Zhao, Y., Dezecache, G., & Deroy, O. (2021). Social influence matters: We follow pandemic guidelines most when our close circle does. British Journal of Psychology, doi: 10.1111/bjop.12491
- Tunçgenç, B., Travers, E., & Fairhurst, M. (2021) Leadership and tempo perturbation affect coordination in medium-sized groups. Nature: Scientific Reports, 11:4940, doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-81504-0
- Tunçgenç, B., Pacheco. C., Rochowiak, et al., Mostofsky, S. H. (2020). Computerised Assessment of Motor Imitation (CAMI) as a scalable method for distinguishing children with autism. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2020.09.001
- Tunçgenç, B. & Cohen, E. (2016). Movement synchrony forges social bonds across group divides. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(782). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00782
- Tunçgenç, B., Fawcett, C., & Cohen, E. (2015). Rock with me: The role of movement synchrony in infants’ social and nonsocial choices. Child Development, 86(3). doi: 976-984. 10.1111/cdev.12354
Dr Tunçgenç is passionate about spreading the word of science, and welcomes media enquiries in her following expertise areas:
- Covid-19 lockdowns: compliance and mental wellbeing
- Community cohesion
- Young people's resilience and mental health
- Children's social development
Please visit her personal website for a sample of Bahar's previous media appearances. Below are some of the news articles that featured Bahar's work: