ICMPC14: Dyadic improvisation and mirroring of finger movements

As I unfortunately (or, as the reason is a newborn baby in the family, fortunately) were not able to attend the ICMPC14, I decided to summarise our study (co-authored with Maija Niinisalo and Riitta Hari, a poster was supposed to appear at the Music & Movement 3 session on Thursday, 4:00 pm, Seacliff A-C, Th23) on dyadic improvisation in this blog post. The blog post format allows me to use videos etc. to illustrate the tasks and the data better than a static poster would, and also lets me write a bit more about it than would fit in a poster. If you have any questions, drop me an email. We are currently writing this up as a journal article, so you’ll get the whole story soon, I hope.

Dyadic improvisation and mirroring of finger movements

Summary

We studied kinematics and coordination in a mirror game using fluent, improvised movements (circle drawing & free movement). 32 participants took part in dyads. In turn, one of the participants was appointed the leader, or the dyad was instructed to share leadership. Hand movements were recorded with optical motion capture.

Compared to the leader–follower condition, sharing leadership resulted in more synchronous circles, smoother free movements, and stronger mutual adaptation.

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Social eMotions update

Sample animation

It’s been a busy beginning of the year in the Social eMotions research project. We’ve been working on a number of things, so I thought it would be nice to have an update on where we are, including introductions of new members in our project team!

On the scientific side, the main theme has been perceptual experiments. We’ve been running experiments showing people animated clips such as the GIF above, and asking them to rate the dancers movements and their relationship along various scales. We are currently analysing data, and have just started to write up our movement analysis paper, so there’ll be published results soon.

On the artistic side, we are working full steam toward the première in Oulu in September. Jarkko and Johanna have been working on the movement material, and we now have also a composer and two musicians working on the music for the show! Jussi Lampela will compose music for the piece, and it will be performed live by two cellists, Iida-Vilhelmiina Laine and Ulla Lampela. We are very excited to have these stars join our team!

As the final performance starts to take shape, its key aspects are being planned and put to their places one by one. We are working on ways to let the audience influence the performance as it happens, and on ways to include the scientific results in it. For the latter purpose, we are getting help from Dr Roberto Pugliese in visualisations and projections. We visited Roberto’s studio yesterday and Jarkko took this snapshot of us dancing and Roberto’s system capturing it on Kinect and producing a live visualisation on screen.

This will (continue to) be great!

Mielimusiikki ja riskinotto

Halko & Kaustila 2015

Riskin hyväksyntä riskin suuruuden funktiona, mielimusiikin ja inhokkimusiikin kuuluessa taustalla (Halko & Kaustila, 2015)

YLE Tiede julkaisi tänään jutun tutkimuksesta, jonka mukaan mielimusiikin kuunteleminen lisää taloudellista riskinottoa. Atso Almila kysäisi Twitterissä, miksi tällaista tutkimusta tehdään, ja lupasin tähän vastata. Koska juttu ei mahdu helposti Twitterin 140 merkkiin, kirjoitan muutamat päällimmäiset ajatukset tänne torkkuvan blogini puolelle.

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Brain-to-brain interface – but what is being transmitted?

High-tech tinfoil hat

There’s a cool new paper on brain-to-brain interfaces, and I’m sure it will be misinterpreted in the media, just like every other paper of this genre. 🙂

There have been a couple of demonstrations of brain-to-brain interfaces before, and I’ve written about one of the previous papers in Finnish.  The idea of BBI is that information about one participant’s brain state is read (typically using EEG), and then the brain state of another participant is manipulated, typically using TMS. At least in the press, these demonstrations are often termed as “telepathy” or “mind-reading”, and illustrated by images from Star Trek, X-Men or just people in tinfoil hats. Often the implications of these studies is posed as a question: will we soon be able to communicate with each other directly, without language? Will all our brains be connected together to form a giant common consciousness?

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ABC of MEG

Aalto Brain Centre (ABC) organised yesterday a panel discussion to answer frequently asked questions about magnetoencephalography (MEG), a brain research method that is based on detecting the minute magnetic fields that brain activity generates. The panel was livestreamed, and the stream is now available online, and embedded below.

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Social eMotions @OuDance

Kävimme esittelemässä Koneen säätiön rahoittamaa Social eMotions -projektiamme Oulussa, OuDance-festivaalilla. Kerroimme Jarkko Lehmuksen kanssa projektin tavoitteista ja siitä, mitä olemme tähän mennessä tehneet. Tiivistetysti: tutkimme tunteita kehollisina, sosiaalisina ja dynaamisina ilmiöinä. Videolla Jarkko ja Johanna Nuutinen demonstroivat tutkimusta varten luotua liikemateriaalia, lisäksi näytämme pari liikedata-animaatiota ja kerromme muutenkin projektin etenemisestä. Esittelimme tutkimusta Oulun kulttuuritalo Valven aulassa juuri ennen illan tanssiesityksiä.

Social eMotions @ OuDance from Tommi Himberg on Vimeo.

Rhythm Perception and Production Workshop RPPW2015

Royal Tropical Institute

After 10-year hiatus, I attended the Rhythm Perception and Production Workshop (RPPW), that this time was organised in Amsterdam. Since the last time, this conference series has changed a lot: the range of topics and approaches was huge, spanning from animal rhythmic abilities to gait, from Parkinson’s to language, from music and dance to rowing, with lots of neuroscience papers presented. Continue reading

New paper: word rhythm entrainment in a story-telling game

entrainment_crop

This picture depicts the relative timing of the pairs’ words. In the absence of any influence from the partner, the distribution would follow the red dashed line. Instead, the distribution is strongly concentrated on 180 degrees, which means the partners are in anti-phase entrainment – the words of one occur close to half way between the words of the other.

It’s always a nice milestone to get a paper published. We reached one today as our paper in Frontiers in Psychology – Language Sciences was published. Our paper is part of a very interesting Research Topic, Turn-taking in Human Communicative Interaction.

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Movement data – what to do with it?

Dance

 

Now that we have recorded the approximately 450MB of movement data, it’s time to start processing and analysing it, and getting it ready for the next stages of the project. This, and probably the next couple of posts are about movement data: in this post I’ll explain briefly how optical motion capture works, and in the next ones what we can do with the data.   Continue reading

Social eMotions: movement recordings completed!

Video clip from our recording session

Click the image for a video clip!

What a day! Yesterday we completed an important phase in the project: we have now recorded the movement data we are going to use in the next phases. This phase posed challenges for everyone in the project, as the artistic team, Jarkko and Johanna, had to create a choreography that could then be performed in different emotional scenarios, and then perfect those different scenarios to make them into convincing short stories, where the dynamic, social emotional processes are conveyed through body movements alone. The scientific team (me, Klaus and Maija) were racking our brains trying to figure out which combinations of emotions we should include (and crucially, which ones we could exclude), trying to make sure we have enough and correct data for the following phases (kinematic analysis, movement synthesis, and perceptual experiments).  Continue reading