Journal article

The Subjective Sensation of Synchrony: An Experimental Study

People performing actions together have a natural tendency to synchronize their behavior. Consistently, people doing a task together build internal representations not only of their actions and goals, but also of the other people performing the task. However, little is known about which are the behavioral mechanisms and the psychological factors affecting the subjective sensation of synchrony, or “connecting” with someone else. In this work, we sought to find which factors induce the subjective sensation of synchrony, combining motion capture data and psychological measures. Our results show that the subjective sensation of synchrony is affected by performance quality together with task category, and time. Psychological factors such as empathy and negative subjective affects also correlate with the subjective sensation of synchrony. However, when people estimate synchrony as seen from a third person perspective, their psychological factors do not affect the accuracy of the estimation. We suggest that to feel this sensation it is necessary to, first, have a good joint performance and, second, to assume the existence of an attention monitoring mechanism that reports that the attention of both participants (self and other) is focused on the task.

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