Japanese Macaques Keep the Beat

Japanese macaques adjust their speed to synchronize movements with a virtual monkey partner. Note that the monkeys haven’t been taught to synchronize but are doing it spontaneously and intentionally.

A) each monkey is taught the task alone B) paired with another monkey C) paired with virtual partner to allow speed manipulation doi:10.1038/srep01151

Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 1151 doi:10.1038/srep01151


Spontaneous synchronization of arm motion between Japanese macaques

Humans show spontaneous synchronization of movements during social interactions; this coordination has been shown to facilitate smooth communication. Although human studies exploring spontaneous synchronization are increasing in number, little is known about this phenomenon in other species. In this study, we examined spontaneous behavioural synchronization between monkeys in a laboratory setting. Synchronization was quantified by changes in button-pressing behaviour while pairs of monkeys were facing one another. Synchronization between the monkeys was duly observed and it was participant-partner dependent. Further tests confirmed that the speed of button pressing changed to harmonic or sub-harmonic levels in relation to the partner’s speed. In addition, the visual information from the partner induced a higher degree of synchronization than auditory information. This study establishes advanced tasks for testing social coordination in monkeys, and illustrates ways in which monkeys coordinate their actions to establish synchronization.


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