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I think it was in my high school sociology class, around 1980, that I learned of an anthropologist who spent three months analysing a 90 second film of a mother, father and child in a kitchen, conducting their every day affairs. And the anthropologist, playing the film in slow motion, ultimately realized that the family was dancing, unknowingly, in a coordinated way. When one person's hand reached for the cupboard, another's head might tilt just slightly. Their bodies were incessantly, unconsciously, gracefully responding to each other.

Please, can anybody provide a reference for this research? Do you know of any similar research? What would be key terms for me to search on? I haven't been able to find anything.

I observe this type of coordination in every day life, especially as an artist. From my limited experience with autistic people, I imagine that this is precisely the faculty that they lack, as if they were totally blind or partially blind, depending on where they are in the spectrum. Autistic people have to compensate, if they can at all, by consciously learning what other people are doing unconsciously. I am currently studying the origin of language and this faculty may well ground Tomasello's notion of joint intentionality. When I look at photos and videos of other great apes, they don't seem to position themselves in the way humans do, and perhaps they simply position themselves with regard to particular individuals. And this faculty is, I think, highly relevant to perceiving the sense of wholeness which architect Christopher Alexander investigates.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have certainly read some documents dealing with this subject in documents of the 80s. It can happen due to communication, emotions, performance in tasks, etc. so it does not seem to be a unitary phenomenon. It did not receive a common denomination. Of course, it is related to the joint intentionality of Tomasello and the learning of language is a social learning. In autism does not occur because there is fundamentally a problem of communication, even representation of others, that is to say, a social problem. $\endgroup$ – hexadecimal Nov 6 '17 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to look for more information I would try precisely to search from Tomasello's theory. $\endgroup$ – hexadecimal Nov 6 '17 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ Dear @hexadecimal, thank you for confirming that this is a phenomenon which has been studied. It's strange that it's not considered a "unitary" sense because sight, hearing and touch are also involved in "communication, emotions, performance in tasks, etc." Tomasello's work is much later and I'm just starting to read it. Maybe I should write him. But it would be very helpful to find the original reference. I wonder if I should look at old social studies textbooks. $\endgroup$ – Andrius Kulikauskas Nov 7 '17 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ I remember reading about it in relation to communication processes in the area of social psychology. I do not remember what documents. Formerly it was described operatively, now the tendency would be to discover that superior processes guide all those behaviors that can take place in different fields. And in the sense that they must be attentional processes that guide executive functions in relation to communication, it goes hand in hand with Tomasello's theory. $\endgroup$ – hexadecimal Nov 7 '17 at 13:34

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