Patti Nijhuis

Research Student

Research Program: Music Cognition and Action

Thesis Title

The relationship between cortico-muscular measures and synchronization performance to complex multimodal rhythms.

Research Project

When you hear music playing at a party, you might find yourself spontaneously moving along to it. Or when you walk side-by-side with someone, your footsteps may automatically synchronize to theirs. This shows the natural tendency of humans to move in synchrony with the rhythms in their environment. Such environmental rhythms are often complex and multimodal (e.g. audio-visual). For instance, when you watch someone dance, you hear the music they dance to and see the rhythmical movements that they make, simultaneously. On the other hand, if you start dancing yourself, you pay attention to the rhythm as you intend to synchronize with the music or the other person.

In my thesis I will try to understand the mechanisms underlying spontaneous and intentional synchronization to complex environmental rhythms. To do so, I will relate measures of neural activity, muscular activity and movement to each other. The coupling and interaction between those 3 components is largely unknown for synchronization processes, even though they are all important measures of how synchronization mechanism(s) transform rhythmic stimuli into synchronized movement.


  • 2015 - Bachelor of Human Movement Sciences (with honours)
  • 2017 - Master of Sport Sciences


Nijhuis, P., Damm, L., B├ęgel, V., Dalla Bella, S., & Bardy, B. G. (2017, June). Music-Induced Movement Entrainment Increases Movement Stability. In Studies in Perception and Action XIV: Nineteenth International Conference on Perception and Action (p. 53). Psychology Press.

Contact Patti
Phone+61 2 9772 6107
LocationWestern Sydney University Bankstown campus (Bullecourt Ave, Milperra)