Sophie C. F. Hendrikse

Clinical Psychology
Clinical, Neuro- & Developmental Psychology
Faculty of Behavior and Movement Sciences
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Methodology and Statistics
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Leiden University

Academic webpage
Academic webpage

The Rhythm of Relating: How to quantify interpersonal synchrony in movement, physiological and neural activations and model the interactions between these modalities?

It is still largely unknown how individuals’ emotional sharing (and its positive impact)
emerges from interpersonal synchrony, which is the temporal coupling of movements,
physiological patterns and neural activations across two individuals. Interpersonal synchrony during social interactions has been demonstrated in many disciplines, such as social-cognitive neuroscience (Konvalinka & Roepstorff, 2012), movement science (Repp & Su,2013) and relationship research (Butler & Randall, 2013). Advanced statistical methods (e.g.,graph measures, state-space modeling, coupled oscillator models, wavelet coherence) are required to examine synchrony between individuals (e.g., Gates & Liu, 2016; Thorson, West, & Mendes, 2018) and to study how synchrony in one modality (e.g., movement, brain, physiology) is influencing synchrony in another modality. Many methods (e.g., cross-correlation, Granger causality, multilevel models, vector-autoregression, dynamical correlation) have been proposed to address different types of synchrony and to investigate the interactions among modalities in terms of synchrony, but a systematic and comprehensive study about which methods are most suited in which context is still lacking.
Therefore, the first part of my PhD project aims at modeling and simulating synchrony,
systematically comparing different statistical methods to quantify synchrony and developing new (advanced) algorithms to discover patterns in interpersonal synchrony.

The development of these new algorithms addresses several challenging methodological questions: (1) How to compute a sensible synchrony measure for groups instead of dyads of persons (e.g., a group of 5 persons)?, (2) How can dyads be grouped regarding their synchrony (evolving over time)?

In the second part of my project, I will focus on the question on how different modalities of synchrony can be integrated (i.e., which modality predicts which other modality) and which statistical methods can be used to assess this? As such, the current project will focus both on methods to analyse synchrony (existing methods and extensions) as well as on methods to integrate different modalities of synchrony. The resulting algorithms will be implemented in freely available software for the broad scientific community and the general public.

Dr. Tom F. Wilderjans (UL) & Prof. dr. Sander L. Koole (VU)

Financed by
NWO Open Competitie – SGW (received by Sander Koole)

15 February 2020 – 14 February 2024