The benefits of learning movement sequences in social interactions

Guy Nahardiya, Andrey Markus, Rotem Bennet, Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although we frequently acquire knowledge and skills through social interactions, the focus of most research on learning is on individual learning. Here we characterize Interaction Based Learning (IBL), which represents the acquisition of knowledge or skill through social interactions, and compare it to Observational Learning (OL)—learning by observation. To that end, we designed a movement synchronization paradigm whereby participants learned Tai-Chi inspired movement sequences from trained teachers in two separated sessions. We used a motion capture system to track the movement of 40 dyads comprised of a teacher and learner, who were randomly divided into OL or IBL groups, and calculated time-varying synchrony of three-dimensional movement velocity. While in the IBL group both the learner and the teacher could see each other through a transparent glass, in the OL group dyads interacted through a one-way mirror, such that the learners observed the teacher, but the teacher could not see the learners. Results show that although the number of movements recalled was not different between groups, we found improved movement smoothness in the IBL compared to the OL group, indicating movement acquisition was better in the IBL group. In addition, we found that motor synchronization levels in dyads improved over time, indicating that movement synchronization can be learned and retained. In the first session, the IBL group, but not the OL group, showed a significant improvement in synchronization. This suggests that dyadic interaction is important for learning movement sequences, and that bidirectional communication of signals and mutual feedback are essential for the consolidation of motor learning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number901900
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Nahardiya, Markus, Bennet and Shamay-Tsoory.


  • consolidation
  • dyadic interaction
  • learning
  • movement
  • synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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