Why Friends Keep Pace

Dr. Michael LaitmanStudies (from the California Institute of Technology): “Humans have a tendency to spontaneously synchronize their movements. For example, the footsteps of two friends walking together may synchronize, although neither individual is consciously aware that it is happening. Similarly, the clapping hands of an audience will naturally fall into synch. …

“In a new study, led by cognitive neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), researchers found that body-movement synchronization between two participants increases following a short session of cooperative training, suggesting that our ability to synchronize body movements is a measurable indicator of social interaction. …

“For their study, the team evaluated the hypothesis that synchronous body movement is the basis for more explicit social interaction by measuring the amount of fingertip movement between two participants who were instructed to extend their arms and point their index fingers toward one another. ….

“The participants repeated the task eight times; the first two rounds were called pretraining sessions and the last two were post-training sessions. The four sessions in between were the cooperative training sessions, in which one person—a randomly chosen leader—made a sequence of large finger movements, and the other participant was instructed to follow the movements. In the post-training sessions, finger-movement correlation between the two participants was significantly higher compared to that in the pre-training sessions. In addition, socially and sensorimotor-related brain areas were more synchronized between the brains, but not within the brain, in the post-training sessions. According to the researchers, this experiment, while simple, is novel in that it allows two participants to interact subconsciously while the amount of movement that could potentially disrupt measurement of the neural signal is minimized. …

“‘The most striking outcome of our study is that not only the body-body synchrony but also the brain-brain synchrony between the two participants increased after a short period of social interaction, … This may open new vistas to study the brain-brain interface. It appears that when a cooperative relationship exists, two brains form a loose dynamic system.’ …

“As part of the study, the team also surveyed the subjects to rank certain social personality traits, which they then compared to individual rates of increased body synchrony. For example, they found that the participants who expressed the most social anxiety showed the smallest increase in synchrony after cooperative training, while those who reported low levels of anxiety had the highest increases in synchrony. The researchers plan to further evaluate the nature of the direct causal relationship between synchronous body movement and social bonding. Further studies may explore whether a more complex social interaction, such as singing together or being teamed up in a group game, increases synchronous body movements among the participants.”

My Comment: We are initially set up to full mutual synchronization and we get the greatest pleasure from this if we reach it. In it, we begin to feel the upper controlling power, our cause and the final goal.

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