So I started working on a sketch today that links two ideas, and the combination is surprising.
On the one hand we have O’Regan and Noe’s take on sensorimotor correspondences. This is actually not far from a lot of Gibsonian work within Ecological Psychology. The basic idea is that in perceiving, we are skillfully engaging with the world, and that practiced and tuned action gives rise to a corresponding characteristic change in the sensory array. Gibsonians would say this is the basis of direct perception. Enaction-heads would say this is skillful coping, or some such.
On the other hand, we have the peculiar issue of sensorimotor synchronization, perhaps best illustrated by a group of people dancing or beating drums together. In the scientific literature, this has withered to a laboratory situation in which people tap in time to a metronome. (The horror, the horror.) This is a singularly human achievement, the very odd animal counterexample notwithstanding (yes, Snowball, I’m looking at you and the Gelada baboons). A fuller account of the basis for sensorimotor synchronization would help us enormously. It may underpin a burgeoning theory of memes; it speaks to Gibson’s intuition that the nervous system displays resonant properties; it fits with a range of specific situations, from air guitar to stuttering. All can be described, in some fuzzy essence, with a conceptually simple model in which two processes enter into a coupled form of synergy which looks like resonance within and among coupled systems with many degrees of freedom.