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Alderisio F, Lombardi M, Fiore G, di Bernardo M (2017) A novel computer-based set-up to study movement coordination in human ensembles. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:967    
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Abstract
Existing experimental works on movement coordination in human ensembles mostly investigate situations where each subject is connected to all the others through direct visual and auditory coupling, so that unavoidable social interaction affects their coordination level. Here, we present a novel computer-based set-up to study movement coordination in human groups so as to minimize the influence of social interaction among participants and implement different visual pairings between them. In so doing, players can only take into consideration the motion of a designated subset of the others. This allows the evaluation of the exclusive effects on coordination of the structure of interconnections among the players in the group and their own dynamics. In addition, our set-up enables the deployment of virtual computer players to investigate dyadic interaction between a human and a virtual agent, as well as group synchronization in mixed teams of human and virtual agents. We show how this novel set-up can be employed to study coordination both in dyads and in groups over different structures of interconnections, in the presence as well as in the absence of virtual agents acting as followers or leaders. Finally, in order to illustrate the capabilities of the architecture, we describe some preliminary results. The platform is available to any researcher who wishes to unfold the mechanisms underlying group synchronization in human ensembles and shed light on its socio-psychological aspects