Journal Article Interactional synchrony in chimpanzees: Examination through a finger-tapping experiment

Yu, Lira  ,  Tomonaga, Masaki

52015-05-11 , Nature Publishing Group
Humans often unconsciously coordinate behaviour with that of others in daily life. This interpersonal coordination, including mimicry and interactional synchrony, has been suggested to play a fundamental role in social interaction. If this coordinative behavior is socially adaptive, it may be shared with other highly social animal species. The current study targeted chimpanzees, which phylogenetically are the closest living relatives of humans and live in complex social groups, and examined whether interactional synchrony would emerge in pairs of chimpanzees when auditory information about a partner's movement was provided. A finger-tapping task was introduced via touch panels to elicit repetitive and rhythmic movement from each chimpanzee. We found that one of four chimpanzees produced significant changes in both tapping tempo and timing of the tapping relative to its partner's tap when auditory sounds were provided. Although the current results may have limitations in generalizing to chimpanzees as a species, we suggest that a finger-tapping task is one potential method to investigate interactional synchrony in chimpanzees under a laboratory setup.

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