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Fostering Social Interaction Through Sound Feedback: Sentire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2022

Marta Rizzonelli*
Department of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
Jin Hyun Kim*
Department of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
Pascal Staudt*
Department of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
Marcello Lussana*
Department of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany


Sentire is a body–machine interface that sonifies motor behaviour in real time and a participatory, interactive performance in which two people use their physical movements to collaboratively create sound while constantly being influenced by the results. Based on our informal observation that basal social behaviours emerge during Sentire performances, the present article investigates our principal hypothesis that Sentire can foster basic mechanisms underlying non-verbal social interaction. We illustrate how coordination serves as a crucial basic mechanism for social interaction, and consider how it is addressed by various therapeutic approaches, including therapeutic use of real-time auditory feedback. Then we argue that the implementation of Sentire may be fruitful in healthcare contexts and in promoting general well-being. We describe how the Sentire system has been developed further within the scope of the research project ‘Social interaction through sound feedback–Sentire’ that combines human–computer interaction, sound design and real-world research, against the background of the relationship between sound, sociality and therapy. The question concerning how interaction is facilitated through Sentire is addressed through the first results of behavioural analysis using structured observation, which allows for a quasi-quantitative sequential analysis of interactive behaviour.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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