Unidirectional adaptation in tempo in pairs of chimpanzees during simultaneous tapping movement: an examination under face-to-face setup


Many studies have reported a spontaneous nature to synchronized movement in humans and in non-human primates. However, it is not yet clear whether individuals mutually adapt their movement to each other or whether one individual significantly changes to synchronize with the other. In the current study, we examined a directionality of the tempo adaptation to understand an introductive process of interactional synchrony in pairs of chimpanzees. Four pairs, consisting of five female chimpanzees, produced a finger-tapping movement under a face-to-face experimental setup where both auditory and visual cues of the partner’s movement were available. Two test conditions were prepared: alone and paired. An analysis of the tapping tempo depending on condition showed that only one chimpanzee in each pair significantly changed their tapping tempo in the direction of the partner’s tapping tempo in the paired condition compared with the alone condition. The current study demonstrated that unidirectional adaptation in tempo occurs in pairs of chimpanzees when they simultaneously produce the tapping movement under auditory and visual interaction.

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The current study was conducted when the first author was affiliated with the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University. We thank T. Matsuzawa, M. Hayashi, I. Adachi, Y. Hattori, and other staff members at the Language and Intelligence Section and Center for Human Evolution Modeling Research of Kyoto University Primate Research Institute for their support and daily care of the chimpanzees. We also thank M. Myowa-Yamakoshi for her generous support. We thank F. Bercovitch for an edit of the manuscript. We thank Y. Seki and one anonymous reviewer for comments. This study was financially supported by JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (20002001, 23220006, 24000001, 15H05709 and 244525). The care and use of animals complied with the 3rd edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Primates issued by Kyoto University Primate Research Institute in 2010. The experimental protocol was approved by the Animal Welfare and Animal Care Committee of the same institute.

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Correspondence to Lira Yu.

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Yu, L., Tomonaga, M. Unidirectional adaptation in tempo in pairs of chimpanzees during simultaneous tapping movement: an examination under face-to-face setup. Primates 57, 181–185 (2016).

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  • Synchrony
  • Chimpanzees
  • Finger-tapping task
  • Tempo convergence