Relative Coordination Reconsidered: A Stochastic Account

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David R. Collins
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Hyeongsaeng Park
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Michael T. Turvey
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Von Holst (1939/1973) parsed intersegmental coordination into relative and absolute to distinguish moderate and extreme forms. Kelso and DeGuzman (1992) discussed an interpretation of relative coordination in terms of the chaotic phenomenon of intermittency. The data of concern (DeGuzman & Kelso, 1991) do not, however, exclude a stochastic interpretation, which is detailed here following earlier suggestions. The key difference is modeling relative coordination by stochastic variability about weak attractors rather than by deterministic variability about remnants of attractors (”ghost attractors”). The intermittency interpretation is not robust in the presence of noise and, therefore, is not well disposed to account for uncertainty in detailing a model of behavioral data or its parameters. In contrast, the stochastic interpretation is based upon an approximation of unknown underlying processes in the form of Gaussian white noise. A stochastic method for estimating model parameters from a stationary probability distribution and a mean first passage time is illustrated using experimental and simulated data.

The authors are with the Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269

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