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Synchronous Isopraxis

Human tendencies to imitate clothing styles and to pick up the nonverbal mannerisms of others are rooted in paleocircuits of the reptilian brain. Paleocircuits are subcortical nerve nets and pathways which link bodily arousal centers, emotion centers and motor areas of the forebrain and midbrain, with muscles for the body movements required by nonverbal signs. Imitation is a deep, reptilian principle of mimicry, i.e., of copying, emulating, or aping a behavior, gesture or accessories including impulsive tendencies to, e.g., clap as audience members nearby applaud. Researchers isolated specific “cute” features in the face, establishing the existence of an infantile cuteness schema and a set of features and proportions attractive both in male and female.

Isopraxis is behavior where people dress like their colleagues and adopt the beliefs, customs, and mannerisms of the people they admire or feel inferior too. Appearing, behaving, and acting the same way makes it easier to be accepted, looking alike suggests same views and feels safe. The highly ritualized and time-based practice of coded outfit and appearance is not only a social synchronization device but also a system of classification and identification of complex social strata and hierarchical uniformities. The element of choice appears to be mostly an illusion but as a dynamic instrument of control it is superior to passive cattle branding methods because patterns are internalized in the subjects. In contrast to its cheerful image, fashion is not only a very effective multilevel system of group cohesion but even more so an efficient tool of social disciplinary action.

Special Agents at USFBI report that they have found that getting people to breathe at the same rate, blink at the same rate, head nod, and do other gestures at the same time is very effective in establishing deep communication. This creates rapport by behavior feedback subtly matching non-verbal communication, especially voice patterns and eye contact patterns. Facial movements provide sufficient peripheral information to drive emotional experience. The facial feedback hypothesis proposes that facial expression (smiling, frowning etc.) affects emotional expression and behavior, smiling produces a weak feeling of happiness. EEG-research proved a resonance-like rapport of brain waves upon external optical or acoustic stimulation. The brain’s own frequencies tune in with the frequencies of the stimulus, an effect called “photic driving” or “frequency following response” (FFR). The frequency bands from 0.1 ? 40 Hz are associated with psycho-physical states (Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta) although these categories cannot cover the complex spectrum of wave activities of the brain, and only offer a vague outline of psycho-physical effects.

In remote areas of south-east Asia, certain species of firefly flash rhythmically in unison. The emergent synchrony of these fireflies which can number in the thousands differs markedly from many other forms of apparent synchronization in nature where perceived synchrony in these cases highlights the tendency of human observers to impose rhythmic patterns. After all, human behaviors are often characterized by synchronization and rhythm.

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