Short Communication

Journal of Ethology

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 389-393

First online:

Sharing the moment: the duration of embraces in humans

  • Emese NagyAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Dundee Email author 

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Moments of some gestures may stand out from our constantly flowing life-time as memorable experiences. We feel subjective moments as our psychological present. Few behavioral acts can express a shared subjective experience so easily observable than people’s embraces after a significant life-event. Spontaneous embraces from the 2008 Summer Olympics Games were analysed, and were found to last for about 3 s, comparable to previously described perceptual and motor units in humans and also in other primate species. These 3-s segments of time are suggested to be the basic temporal building blocks of our behaviourally expressed subjective experiences.


Movement patterns Intersubjectivity Event durations Humans Phenomenology