Journal article

A Motion Capture Study to Measure the Feeling of Synchrony in Romantic Couples and in Professional Musicians

The feeling of synchrony is fundamental for most social activities and prosocial behaviors. However, little is known about the behavioral correlates of this feeling and its modulation by intergroup differences. We previously showed that the subjective feeling of synchrony in subjects involved in a mirror imitation task was modulated by objective behavioral measures, as well as contextual factors such as task difficulty and duration of the task performance. In the present study, we extended our methodology to investigate possible interindividual differences. We hypothesized that being in a romantic relationship or being a professional musician can modulate both implicit and explicit synchronization and the feeling of synchrony as well as the ability to detect synchrony from a third person perspective. Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not find significant differences between people in a romantic relationship and control subjects. However, we observed differences between musicians and control subjects. For the implicit synchrony (spontaneous synchronization during walking), the results revealed that musicians that had never met before spontaneously synchronized their movements earlier among themselves than control subjects, but not better than people sharing a romantic relationship. Moreover, in explicit behavioral synchronization tasks (mirror game), musicians reported earlier feeling of synchrony and had less speed errors than control subjects. This was in interaction with tasks difficulty as these differences appeared only in tasks with intermediate difficulty. Finally, when subjects had to judge synchrony from a third person perspective, musicians had a better performance to identify if they were present or not in the videos. Taken together, our results suggest that being a professional musician can play a role in the feeling of synchrony and its underlying mechanisms.

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