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1- Department of Neuroscience and Addiction Studies, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2- Cognitive Systems Laboratory, Control and Intelligent Processing Center of Excellence (CIPCE), School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Introduction: The aim of this study is to introduce a new method to create virtual reality environments for studying synchrony in human body movements and their prosocial effects. Previous studies have shown the positive effects of synchrony, but more controlled and ecologically valid paradigms are needed to explore these effects deeper and translate them to the therapeutic domain.

Methods: Eighty-two healthy subjects participated in this study. They performed simple periodic hand movements in a virtual environment with a virtual character mimicking them. We used inverse kinematics to create character movements. The virtual characters mimic the participants after a short delay in the synchronous group and after a great delay in non-synchronous group. The subjective feeling of synchrony and social closeness was measured using a set of rating questionnaires.

Results: Participants in the synchronous group reported more synchrony than the non-synchronous group. The degree of social closeness between the two groups was not significantly different; however, there was a significant positive correlation between the reported degree of synchrony and social closeness within each group.

Conclusion: We have shown that using a simple virtual reality environment in which body movements are simulated by inverse kinematics can engender the feeling of synchrony and exert its prosocial effects.

Type of Study: Original | Subject: Behavioral Neuroscience
Received: 2022/10/8 | Accepted: 2022/11/14

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