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Actions and feelings in sync: Exploring the reciprocal relationship between synchrony and empathy in children's dyadic musical interactions: Analysis code

Version 2 2024-03-14, 13:35
Version 1 2024-03-11, 16:29
software
posted on 2024-03-14, 13:35 authored by Persefoni Tzanaki, Tuomas Eerola, Renee TimmersRenee Timmers

The files contain the code used to run the study analysis. The study is part of a PhD project conducted by Persefoni Tzanaki at the Department of Music (University of Sheffield) in collaboration with Prof Tuomas Eerola from Durham University.

Supervisors: Prof Renee Timmers, Prof Nicola Dibben and Dr Jennifer MacRitchie.

The Department of Music Ethics Committee at the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) approved the study (Reference Number 050324). All experiments were conducted in accordance with the University’s guidelines and relevant regulations.

The study's manuscript will soon be submitted for peer review and publication. A link to the paper will be provided when it is published.


  • The .r files contain code for the main analysis of each task of the study, as well as the assumption tests for linear mixed-effects models and cumulative mixed-effects models. The analysis was conducted in RStudio. Comments have been added to the files to guide readers through the process.
  • More information about the files can be found in the README file attached.

Abstract:

Drawing from a recently proposed framework supporting a bidirectional relationship between empathy and interpersonal synchrony in musical interactions, the present study investigated three novel aspects of this relationship within children's music-making engagements. Seventy-two pairs of primary school children participated in two musical tasks, examining a) the impact of children's trait empathy on achieving interpersonal synchrony, b) synchrony’s effects on social bonding and state empathy following brief musical interactions, and c) the role of trait and experimentally-induced empathy in moderating the bonding effects of synchrony. Findings revealed that cognitive and affective empathy contributed to children's ability to synchronise with one another, particularly in interactions presenting unstable tapping. Furthermore, brief synchronous musical interactions promoted state empathy within pairs; however, perceived asynchrony during a brief interactional task was not sufficient to diminish the bonding effects of musical engagement. Moreover, pairs’ gender composition and familiarity within pairs emerged as confounding factors, influencing interpersonal synchrony and the intensity of its social outcomes. This is the first empirical study investigating multiple aspects of the interplay between empathising and synchronising in children, paving the way for future exploration of the mechanisms allowing for a bidirectional relationship. The study outcomes aim to inform musical interventions leveraging the interplay between empathy and synchrony to nurture children’s simultaneous musical and social development.

Funding

Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Sheffield Research Scholarship

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