Behavioural Synchrony

Four-way mirror game

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Figure 2. First game, cross-correlations of finger norm accelerations for each pair. 



Figure 3. Second game, quantity of motion in each player, calculated from all markers. 


In the second game, we also see a more coherent cross-correlation structure (Figure 4). Participants are numbered in clock-wise direction, so the adjacent numbered players are standing next to each other in the game. Looking at the peaks that are closest to the lag 0, we can see that they all are from dyads of adjacent players. us players seem to follow the players next to them more closely than players they are facing.


Figure 4. Second game, cross-correlations of finger norm accelerations for each pair. 


If we zoom in to some of the peaks in the QoM graph, we can see the anatomy of these larger movements: who initiated them, who followed and at how large were the lags. Figures three and four show two of these peaks. 


In the pilot, the latter game produced more group synchrony, and facilitated the introduction of larger movements. This is probably due to the group improvisation in between, where participants were all holding on to a piece of paper and were ”following its movement”. is provided them with a potential solution to the arising conflicts: if all four aim to minimise the distance between their hands, they maintain a coordinated state, even though they are no longer, strictly speaking, mirroring movements. In the experiments to be conducted in the spring 2017, a musical group improvisation task will be used instead, to avoid such direct effects.



[1] Tommi Himberg, Maija Niinisalo, and Riitta Hari. 2015. Coordination of Fluent Hand-Movements in Dyads. RPPW15, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
[2] Michael J. Hove and Jane L. Risen. 2009. It’s All in the Timing: Interpersonal Synchrony Increases Affiliation. Social Cognition 27, 6 (2009), 949–960. DOI:10.1521/soco.2009.27.6.949
[3] Lior Noy, Erez Dekel, and Uri Alon. 2011. The mirror game as a paradigm for studying the dynamics of two people improvising motion together. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, 52 (2011), 20947–20952. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1108155108
[4] Henri Tajfel. 1982. Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual review of psychology 33, 1 (1982), 1–39.
[5] Piercarlo Valdesolo, Jennifer Ouyang, and David DeSteno. 2010. The rhythm of joint action: Synchrony promotes cooperative ability. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46, 4 (2010), 693–695.