Towards Scalable Measures of Quality of Interaction: Motor Interference
Motor resonance, the activation of an observer's motor control system by another actor's movements, has been claimed to be an indicator for quality of interaction. Motor interference as one of the consequences of the presence of resonance can be detected by analysing an actor's spatial movements. It has therefore been used as an indicator for the presence of motor resonance. Unfortunately, the experimental paradigm in which motor interference has been shown to be detectable is ecologically implausible both in terms of the types of movements employed and the number of repetitions required. In the presented experiment we tested whether some of these experimental constraints can be relaxed or modified towards a more naturalistic behaviour without losing the ability to detect the interference effect. In the literature, spatial variance has been analytically quantified in many different ways. This study found these analytical variations to be nonequivalent by implementing them. Back-and-forth transitive movements were tested for motor interference; the effect was found to be more robust than with left-right movements, though the direction of interference was opposite to that reported in the literature. We conclude that motor interference, when measured by spatial variation, lacks promise for embedding in naturalistic interaction scenarios because the effect sizes were small.