Single (1:1) vs. double (1:2) metronomes for the spontaneous entrainment and stabilisation of human rhythmic movements
Rhythmic movements produced by humans become spontaneously entrained to auditory rhythms in the environment. Evidence suggests that synchronisation to external auditory rhythms can contribute to the stabilisation of movements in time and space, opening new perspectives for motor training and rehabilitation. Here we compared the effects of single (1:1) and double (1:2) metronomes (i.e., one or two stimulations per preferred movement cycle) on spontaneous movement entrainment and stabilisation. We examined the spontaneous entrainment of self-paced hand-held pendulum swinging when single or double metronomes were presented either at the participant’s preferred tempo or slightly slower or faster (± 10%). The results showed that participants’ movements spontaneously entrained to auditory rhythms, and that the strength of this entrainment was the same for single and double metronomes. However, double metronomes decreased movement tempo stability, whereas single metronomes increased movement tempo stability compared to a control condition without a stimulus. These effects preferentially occurred for metronomes presented at participants’ preferred movement tempi and especially for participants whose movements were intrinsically more variable. Participants’ movement amplitude stability was also modulated in such a way that the stability of participants who were intrinsically less stable increased, whereas the stability of intrinsically more stable participants decreased with auditory rhythms, an effect that was stronger with double than single metronomes. Moreover, movement stabilisation in time and space were positively correlated, suggesting that tempo and amplitude stabilisation depend on similar processes and may be complementary. These findings provide new insight into the processes underlying auditory-motor entrainment and how auditory rhythms can be used to improve movement stability in time and space.
KeywordsEntrainment Synchronisation Movement Variability Metronome
This work was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery project (DP170104322) and an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship grant awarded to P.K. (FT140101162).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
- Batschelet E (1981) Circular statistics in biology, vol 371. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Beek PJ (1989) Juggling dynamics. Free University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Kelso JS (1997) Dynamic patterns: the self-organization of brain and behavior. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Kugler PN, Turvey MT (1987) Information, natural law, and the self-assembly of rhythmic movement. Routledge, AbingdonGoogle Scholar
- Large EW (2008) Resonating to musical rhythm: theory and experiment. In: Grondin S (ed) The psychology of time. Emerald, Cambridge, pp 189–231Google Scholar
- MacRitchie J, Varlet M, Keller PE (2017) Embodied expression through entrainment and co-representation in musical ensemble performance. Companion of embodied music. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Pikovsky A, Rosenblum M, Kurths J, Kurths J (2003) Synchronization: a universal concept in nonlinear sciences, vol 12. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- von Holst E (1973) Relative coordination as a phenomenon and as a method of analysis of central nervous system function. In: Martin R (ed) The collected papers of Erich von Holst: vol 1. The behavioral physiology of animal and man. University of Miami Press, Coral Gables, pp 33–135 (Original work published 1939)Google Scholar