Nature of mutual anticipation

Department/School: Biomedical Engineering, School of Biological Sciences

Supervisor: Dr Yoshikatsu Hayashi

Co-supervisor: Professor Slawomir Nasuto

Application Deadline: Applications accepted all year round

Funding Availability: Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Duration: 36 months


How can we communicate with other members of society, synchronise our motion in realtime manner despite of the time-delay in the sensory-motor systems? Crucial to a sense of communication is first the ability to entrain perceptually with other members of society, i.e., to be able to follow, to lead, and anticipate others to synchronise their motion. However, the reorganisation of the brain activity under realtime coordinated motion has not been investigated in terms of simultaneous scanning/analysis of two brains. The aim of the project is to reveal neurological foundation and dynamical functions of the brain for anticipatory synchronisation under the coordinated motion (Fig. 1).

The previous behavioural neurosciences, a single brain is investigated, responding to the social stimulation, not taking account of the dynamical aspect of two brains influencing each other in realtime. There is a need for a novel experimental paradigm to employ the hyperscanning of two brains to investigate how two brains are being influenced by each other.

The proposed experimental paradigm investigates the coupling of the visual-motor systems of humans, which undergoes a transition of mode from turn-taking mode (leader or follower) to synchronisation mode. The project addresses the interdisciplinary approach between biology and physics to investigate the front line of neuroscience. The project will be carried out in the recently established institute,Brain Embodiment Lab.

Concept map of the mutal interactions

Previous behavioural study

In the mutual tapping/tracking experiments, the participants were asked to trace the target each other to minimise the positional errors. The behavioural results showed (1) The transition from the turn-taking mode to the synchronisation mode occurred as the speed of motion increases (2) the synchronisation mode is accompanied by the generation of rhythmic motion. The phenomenological model of the motion dynamics showed that the degrees of freedom is largely reduced in the synchronisation mode. Thus, the transition from the turn-taking mode to the synchronisation mode may indicate the emerged attractors in brain dynamics.

Hayashi, Y. and Kondo, T.
, Mechanism for synchronized motion between two humans in mutual tapping experiments: Transition from alternative mode to synchronization mode, Physical Review E, 88 (2). 022715. ISSN 1539-3755 doi: 10.1103 (2013)

Hayashi, Y. and Sawada, Y.
Title: Transition from an anti-phase error-correction-mode to a synchronization mode in the mutual hand tracking, Physical Review E, 88 (2). 022704. ISSN 1539-3755 doi: 10.1103 (2013)

University of Reading

The University of Reading is one of the UK’s 20 most research-intensive universities and among the top 200 universities in the world. Achievements include the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement (1989) and the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education (1998, 2006 and 2009). The modelling will take place in the Biomedical Engineering Section, School of Biological Sciences, which has a strong reputation for its innovative research in computer science, cybernetics, and electronic engineering. Recent major investments have further strengthened the neuroscience activities in the department, with two new professors, three new lecturers and the creation of a Brain Embodiment Lab.


Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a relevant subject such as systems and neuroscience, cybernetics, control engineering, physics, or mathematics.

How to apply

Please submit an application for a PhD (initial registration) in Cybernetics (Biological Sciences) to the University using the link below.

In the online application system, there is a section for "Research proposal" and a box that says "If you have already been in contact with a potential supervisor, please tell us who" - in this box, please enter "Dr Yoshikatsu Hayashi".

Funding notes

We welcome applications from self-funded students worldwide for this project.

Further enquiries

For further information about this PhD opportunity, please contact:

Dr Yoshikatsu Hayashi, tel: +44 (0)118 378 5024,

Page navigation


Search Form

A-Z lists