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Bahar Tuncgenc

Bahar Tuncgenc

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

Research affiliate, Social Body Lab, University of Oxford

NTU research groups: Groups, Identities, and Health, Evolution and Social Interaction

Career overview

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.

Research areas

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.

Research groups: Groups, Identities, and Health, Evolution and Social Interaction

More detailed information about Bahar's current research can be found on her personal website:

External activity

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)


For a full list of publications, please visit Bahar's Google Scholar page or ORCID page.

See all of Bahar Tuncgenc's publications...

Press expertise

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:

BBC News: Dancing can bring people together, say researchers

Daily Mail: Dancing really DOES break the ice: Children who dance together feel more connected

El País: Hacia la sociedad de las distancias (Towards a society of distances)

The Conversation: Why we're more likely to follow COVID-19 rules when our families and friends do

Politico EU:  After sidelining scientists, Europe plays catchup with new coronavirus wave

Course(s) I teach on

  • Student conducting an experiment
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