Exit from synchrony in joint improvised motion

Assi Dahan, Lior Noy, Yuval Hart, Avi Mayo, Uri Alon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Motion synchrony correlates with effective and well-rated human interaction. However, people do not remain locked in synchrony; Instead, they repeatedly enter and exit synchrony. In many important interactions, such as therapy, marriage and parent-infant communication, it is the ability to exit and then re-enter synchrony that is thought to build strong relationship. The phenomenon of entry into zero-phase synchrony is well-studied experimentally and in terms of mathematical modeling. In contrast, exit-from-synchrony is understudied. Here, we focus on human motion coordination, and examine the exit-from-synchrony phenomenon using experimental data from the mirror game paradigm, in which people perform joint improvised motion, and from human tracking of computer-generated stimuli. We present a mathematical mechanism that captures aspects of exit-from-synchrony in human motion. The mechanism adds a random motion component when the accumulated velocity error between the players is small. We introduce this mechanism to several models for human coordinated motion, including the widely studied HKB model, and the predictor-corrector model of Noy, Dekel and Alon. In all models, the new mechanism produces realistic simulated behavior when compared to experimental data from the mirror game and from tracking of computer generated stimuli, including repeated entry and exit from zero-phase synchrony that generates a complexity of motion similar to that of human players. We hope that these results can inform future research on exit-from-synchrony, to better understand the dynamics of coordinated action of people and to enhance human-computer and human-robot interaction.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0160747
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Dahan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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