Research Topic

Neuroentrainment: A body-centered framework for the neuroscience of affective and temporal entrainment in dance, music, and other forms of coordinated rhythmic movement.

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Entrainment refers to the human tendency for synchronization in time or affect through coordinated rhythmic movement. Studies of entrainment across disciplines reveal the extent to which rhythmic cues are embodied at various levels of neuronal and behavioral functioning. Yet limitations of operational ...

Entrainment refers to the human tendency for synchronization in time or affect through coordinated rhythmic movement. Studies of entrainment across disciplines reveal the extent to which rhythmic cues are embodied at various levels of neuronal and behavioral functioning. Yet limitations of operational definition and measurement, as well as a lack of cross-disciplinary language, have hindered the development of a unified framework for the study of entrainment.

We aim to develop a framework, called neuroentrainment, by integrating perspectives on entrainment in brain and body from multiple fields, including especially: dance performance and choreography, dynamic systems modeling, ethnomusicology, human development, evolutionary biology and ecology, kinematics, kinesiology and movement science, music performance (vocal, instrumental, ensembles, conducting), neuroaesthetics, and neuroscience of dance and music. We encourage submissions which contribute to the neuroentrainment framework by addressing some of the major questions of definition, measurement and language: What does entrainment look like, and what causes it to arise? How do we measure entrainment in the brain and the body? How can the inclusive language of the neuroentrainment framework be utilized to promote comprehensive, ecological and interdisciplinary study?

Empirical studies have focused on certain aspects of entrainment while leaving others relatively untouched. For example, studies of musical beat perception and synchronization have tended to focus on fine motor tapping as an index of temporal entrainment. Some open questions include: How do we characterize entrainment as it arises from fine versus gross motor chains, and from discrete versus continuous motion? What are the criteria for accuracy of synchronization in full body motion? What features of body movement relate to degree of entrainment (as in groove)? How do requirements for entrainment differ between its temporal and affective forms? How does the characterization of entrainment differ between dance, music and other forms of interpersonal coordination?

With respect to entrainment in body movement, empirical work has focused almost exclusively on pulse-based music and dance. In these cases, limitations include a scarcity of work on identifying the beat location in the kinds of full body continuous motion that are typical of dance, and understanding how different body parts and types of motion convey the phase-relations of those movements to the beat. In addition there is very little understanding of how rhythmic structures that are more complex than simple and compound meters (e.g., asymmetric meters, cross-rhythms, polyrhythms) are instantiated via entrainment in the brain and body, for which cross-cultural perspectives are essential. The field has left largely untouched questions regarding non-pulse-based music and dance. For example, how does entrainment arise via non-pulse-based music stimuli? How does entrainment in dance arise in the absence of music? What is the role of entrainment in the creation of movement and dance in improvisation and in set works?

It is not yet known what are the limits to the range of sensory and social stimuli, or zeitgebers, that can elicit temporal or affective entrainment. What non-music stimuli or features foster coordinated rhythmic movement (e.g., vocal, fine or gross motor, gaze) between individuals? What are the cultural constraints on affective and temporal forms of entrainment? What do ethnological perspectives reveal about universals of entrainment in social, musical and movement rituals?

By synthesizing works on entrainment from a body-centered perspective across diverse fields, we hone in on a refined framework for the study


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be in line with the scope of the specialty and field to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Manuscripts discovered during any stage of peer review to be outside of the scope may be transferred to a suitable section or field, or withdrawn from review.

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