Somatosensory driven interpersonal synchrony during rhythmic sway

George Sofianidis, Vassilia Hatzitaki, George Grouios, Leif Johannsen, Alan Wing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Spontaneous synchrony emerges between individuals performing together rhythmic activities while communicating by means of sensory feedback. In this study, we examined the nature of interpersonal synchrony mediated by light fingertip contact when individuals sway rhythmically in the sagittal plane. The effect of traditional dance expertise on interpersonal synchrony was investigated. Sixty participants (30 dancers, 30 novices) formed three types of couples (10 expert couples, 10 novice couples, 10 mixed couples) and performed a rhythmical sway task (40. s) that was either self or metronome paced (frequency: 0.25. Hz). Cross spectral analysis of the center of pressure (CoP) displacement signals revealed that during self-paced sway fingertip contact evoked a decrease of the dominant sway frequency difference between partners, an increase in the coherence between the sway signals and a concentration of relative phase angles towards the in-phase (0°-20°) region. In metronome paced sway however, only expert dancers were able to benefit from haptic contact to further improve interpersonal synchrony. These findings suggest that haptic contact can stabilize the spontaneous coordination dynamics of two persons performing rhythmic sway together. The strength of the emerged synchrony depends on the individuals' expertise to integrate tactile and auditory information about sway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-566
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Dance
  • Expertise
  • Interpersonal coordination dynamics
  • Metronome
  • Rhythmic sway
  • Tactile contact

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