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AMBIENT: Bodily Entrainment to Audiovisual Rhythms

How do rhythms influence people's bodily behavior?

A person sitting by a computer screen in an office. Photo.

AMBIENT will study how the sonic and visual “background” of indoor environments, like the sound of a ventilation system or a ticking clock in an office, influence people's bodily behaviour.

Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Now hiring!

We are going to hire three early career researchers experienced with one or more of the following methods: sound analysis, video analysis, interviews, questionnaires, motion capture, physiological sensing, statistics, signal processing, machine learning, interactive (sound/music) systems.

Application deadline: 15 March 2022.

About the project

Much focus has been devoted to understanding the “foreground” of human activities: things we say, actions we do, sounds we hear. AMBIENT will study the sonic and visual “background” of indoor environments: the sound of a ventilation system in an office, the footsteps of people in a corridor, or people's fidgeting in a classroom.

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Examples of periodic auditory and visual stimuli in the environments to be studied in AMBIENT: individuals in offices (WP2), physical-virtual coworking (WP3), telematic classroom (WP4).

The aim of the project is to study how such elements influence people's bodily behaviour, and how people feel about the rhythms in an environment. This will be done by studying how different auditory and visual stimuli combine to create rhythms in various settings.

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Rhythms can be constructed from different elements: (a) visual, (b) auditory, (c) audiovisual, (d) spatiotemporal, or (e) a combination of audiovisual and spatiotemporal. The numbers in (e) indicate the cyclic, temporal order of the events.

The hypothesis is that various types of rhythms influence people's bodily behaviour through principles of entrainment, that is, the process by which independent rhythmical systems interact with each other.


The primary objective of AMBIENT is to understand more about bodily entrainment to audiovisual rhythms in both local and telematic environments. This will be studied within the context of everyday workspaces like offices and classrooms.

The primary objective can be broken down into three secondary objectives:

  1. Understand more about the rhythms of in-door environments, and make a theoretical model of such rhythms that can be implemented in software.

  2. Understand more about how people interact with the rhythms of in-door environments, both when working alone – and together.
  3. Explore how such rhythms can be captured and (re)created in a different environment using state-of-the-art audiovisual technologies.

Work packages

The work in AMBIENT is divided into five work packages:

  • WP1: Theoretical Development
  • WP2: Observation study of individuals in their offices
  • WP3: Observation study of physical-virtual workspaces
  • WP4: Exploration of (re)creation of ambience in a telematic classroom
  • WP5: Software development

The work packages overlap and feed into each other in various ways.

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The relationships between work packages. The small boxes within WP2–4 indicate the different studies (a/b/c) and their phases (1/2/3). See WP sections for explanations.

Open Research

The AMBIENT project is an open research lighthouse project. The aim is to keep the entire research as open as possible, including sharing methods, data, publications, and so on.


The Research Council of Norway, project number 324003, 2021-2025


  • Laczkó, Bálint & Jensenius, Alexander Refsum (2021). Reflections on the Development of the Musical Gestures Toolbox for Python. In Kantan, Prithvi Ravi; Paisa, Razvan & Willemsen, Silvin (Ed.), Proceedings of the Nordic Sound and Music Computing Conference. Aalborg University Copenhagen. Full text in Research Archive
  • Jensenius, Alexander Refsum (2021). Best versus Good Enough Practices for Open Music Research. Empirical Musicology Review. ISSN 1559-5749. 16(1). Full text in Research Archive

View all works in Cristin

  • Jensenius, Alexander Refsum (2021). Open Research as Communication Strategy.
  • Laczkó, Bálint & Jensenius, Alexander Refsum (2021). Reflections on the Development of the Musical Gestures Toolbox for Python.

View all works in Cristin

Published Dec. 1, 2021 10:01 AM - Last modified Jan. 17, 2022 12:08 AM