Periodicity, synchrony, and entrainment

It is becoming evident from these various studies that periodicity, synchrony, and entrainment processes within music and human conversation may share some correlates. For example, the human capacity for error correction studied in music psychology (Repp 2005) and in kinesics and cross-cultural interaction (Hall 1977) may provide evidence of such correlation.

Interpersonal synchrony in both musical and linguistic interaction is managed by regulating both self-synchrony (intra) and interpersonal synchrony (Condon and Sander 1974; Gill et al. 2000; Bavelas et al. 2008). However, the correlates between music and language might not be understood by simply applying concepts from music to the case of language or vice versa, as language has ‘discontinuities’ such as pauses and endings and ‘simultaneous events’, whereas music is based on continuous periodicities. Consider the case of Body Moves. These pragmatic rhythms of coupling seem to emerge sporadically in human communication yet they are not arbitrary. They serve to both maintain the commitment to engage with and understand each other, and the simultaneous rhythmic form of the Parallel Coordinated Move facilitates tacit knowing. Body Moves may not be explained using the continuous periodicity model although, being moments of coupling, they are a form of entrainment. An understanding of periodicity and entrainment within human communication would require a multi-level analysis to account for the continuity of committed engagement and the multi-modality of interpersonal synchrony. Such a framework needs to explain how intra- and interpersonal synchrony is managed at the various levels and what the relationship between these levels is.

Rhythm is sensing in flow and this flow shapes quality of life. Witnessing is part of flow, lying in the synchronization of self with other (where other could be multiple others, or movements in the environment), and bearing witness is when we notice that the flow is disturbed. In the space mediated by glass or screens, such rhythm is essentially altered with the distance in the separation of embodied space, as is quality of life. And yet, despite the disruptions, delays, of mediated interaction, people are motivated to tune to each other. What we do not know, and further research needs to be done, is how we tune in mediated space, and how this differs from immediate physically shared space. The discussion above has provided some parameters of synchrony, entrainment, and rhythm for such a comparative analysis, whilst laying out the need for further research in understanding the complexity of moving and perceiving in time with another person, and the effect this has on human sociality.