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Behav Res Methods. 2013 Jun;45(2):329-43. doi: 10.3758/s13428-012-0249-2.

Frame-differencing methods for measuring bodily synchrony in conversation.

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Cognitive and Information Sciences, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts, University of California, Merced, Merced, CA 95343, USA.


The study of interpersonal synchrony examines how interacting individuals grow to have similar behavior, cognition, and emotion in time. Many of the established methods of analyzing interpersonal synchrony are costly and time-consuming; the study of bodily synchrony has been especially laborious, traditionally requiring researchers to hand-code movement frame by frame. Because of this, researchers have been searching for more efficient alternatives for decades. Recently, some researchers (e.g., Nagaoka & Komori (IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, 91(6), 1634-1640, 2008); Ramseyer & Tschacher, 2008) have applied computer science and computer vision techniques to create frame-differencing methods (FDMs) to simplify analyses. In this article, we provide a detailed presentation of one such FDM, created by modifying and adding to existing FDMs. The FDM that we present requires little programming experience or specialized equipment: Only a few lines of MATLAB code are required to execute an automated analysis of interpersonal synchrony. We provide sample code and demonstrate its use with an analysis of brief, friendly conversations; using linear mixed-effects models, the measure of interpersonal synchrony was found to be significantly predicted by time lag (p < .001) and by the interaction between time lag and measures of interpersonal liking (p < .001). This pattern of results fits with existing literature on synchrony. We discuss the current limitations and future directions for FDMs, including their use as part of a larger methodology for capturing and analyzing multimodal interaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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