Hannah Gibbs: Associations between physiological synchrony and shared flow in Javanese gamelan playing Music Coding Collective seminar, week 4

  • Date and time: Friday 3 February 2023, 11.30am
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

The experience of shared flow refers to the optimal balance between challenge and skill for a given task, resulting from interpersonal action in a group situation. The performance of Javanese gamelan is an ideal setting to investigate shared flow, due to the requirement that all instruments work harmoniously, allowing for shared flow and its native equivalent, ngeli. Underpinning the egalitarian ethos of gamelan is interlocking synchrony and repetitive cyclical patterns, whereby governance is distributed throughout the ensemble in an algorithmic sense. Thus, an opportunity to examine the underlying physiological parameters surrounding shared flow arises. While flow has been related to physiological signatures, and shared actions in music making are related to synchronised physiology, to our knowledge, no study yet has directly investigated these links between shared physiology and shared flow. Therefore, this study aimed to assess whether there are associations between physiological synchrony, flow states, and Javanese Gamelan playing.

This study aimed to investigate whether there are significantly correlated windows of physiological synchrony between participants when playing gamelan. Subsequently, we tested for associations between physiological synchrony and self-reported measures of flow. Two groups were recruited to participate in the study; an established gamelan group based at the University of York, and a group of participants with minimal experience of playing gamelan. Both groups played traditional gamelan pieces and were asked to improvise. Self-report measures assessed flow, while skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR) were recorded using Shimmer Sensors.

This presentation will mostly centre on how the physiological signals were processed and how inter-subject correlation was implemented via MATLAB. Largely it will come from the perspective of someone who started as a coding novice and has since self-taught to produce a complex analysis from an interdisciplinary lens.

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About the speaker

Hannah Gibbs

Hannah is a third-year PhD candidate in Music Psychology, who explores mixed methods ways of understanding the unconscious shared flow experience in Javanese gamelan.