Interpersonal similarity between body movements in face-to-face communication in daily life

Naoki Higo, Ken Ichiro Ogawa, Juichi Minemura, Bujie Xu, Takayuki Nozawa, Taiki Ogata, Koji Ara, Kazuo Yano, Yoshihiro Miyake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals are embedded in social networks in which they communicate with others in their daily lives. Because smooth face-to-face communication is the key to maintaining these networks, measuring the smoothness of such communication is an important issue. One indicator of smoothness is the similarity of the body movements of the two individuals concerned. A typical example noted in experimental environments is the interpersonal synchronization of body movements such as nods and gestures during smooth face-to-face communication. It should therefore be possible to estimate quantitatively the smoothness of face-to-face communication in social networks through measurement of the synchronization of body movements. However, this is difficult because social networks, which differ from disciplined experimental environments, are open environments for the face-to-face communication between two individuals. In such open environments, their body movements become complicated by various external factors and may follow unstable and nonuniform patterns. Nevertheless, we consider there to be some interaction during face-to-face communication that leads to the interpersonal synchronization of body movements, which can be seen through the interpersonal similarity of body movements. The present study aims to clarify such interaction in terms of body movements during daily face-to-face communication in real organizations of more than 100 people. We analyzed data on the frequency of body movement for each individual during face-to-face communication, as measured by a wearable sensor, and evaluated the degree of interpersonal similarity of body movements between two individuals as their frequency difference. Furthermore, we generated uncorrelated data by resampling the data gathered and compared these two data sets statistically to distinguish the effects of actual face-to-face communication from those of the activities accompanying the communication. Our results confirm an interpersonal similarity of body movements between two individuals in face-to-face communication, for all the organizations studied, and suggest that some body interaction is behind this similarity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere102019
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul 11
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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