Multilevel behavioral synchronization in a joint tower-building task

Moreno I. Coco, Leonardo Badino, Pietro Cipresso, Alice Chirico, Elisabetta Ferrari, Giuseppe Riva, Andrea Gaggioli, Alessandro D'ausilio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Human to human sensorimotor interaction can only be fully understood by modeling the patterns of bodily synchronization and reconstructing the underlying mechanisms of optimal cooperation. We designed a tower-building task to address such a goal. We recorded upper body kinematics of dyads and focused on the velocity profiles of the head and wrist. We applied recurrence quantification analysis to examine the dynamics of synchronization within, and across the experimental trials, to compare the roles of leader and follower. Our results show that the leader was more auto-recurrent than the follower to make his/her behavior more predictable. When looking at the cross-recurrence of the dyad, we find different patterns of synchronization for head and wrist motion. On the wrist, dyads synchronized at short lags, and such a pattern was weakly modulated within trials, and invariant across them. Head motion, instead, synchronized at longer lags and increased both within and between trials: a phenomenon mostly driven by the leader. Our findings point at a multilevel nature of human to human sensorimotor synchronization, and may provide an experimentally solid benchmark to identify the basic primitives of motion, which maximize behavioral coupling between humans and artificial agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-233
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems
Issue number3
Early online date11 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Human-human interaction
  • human-robot interaction
  • body motion capture
  • automatic imitation
  • sensorimotor convergence
  • joint action
  • mirror neurons
  • crossrecurrence quantification analysis
  • dynamical systems


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