dr. H.J. (Harjo) de Poel
Current scientific focus
My research over the last five years focuses on movement interaction, in particular in the context of cyclical movements alongside models of coupled oscillators. The research is mainly instigated by a nonlinear dynamical perspective, specifically the coordination dynamics approach. This focus entails 1) interaction between body parts of one agent, 2) interaction between an agent and environmental sources, and 3) interaction between agents. My official appointment at the Center for Human Movement Sciences is in the area of Sport Sciences. As such, part of my recent research involves sports(-related) tasks. As the majority of sports situations comprise continuous cooperative/competitive coordination between players and/or the relevant social environmental information, the primary aim is to gain insight into such ‘socio-motor’ interactions and the processes underlying them, and (ultimately) how an agent (cf. athlete) or coach can influence them when seeking to improve (collective) performance. Examples are the projects on the interpersonal dynamics of crew rowing (De Brouwer et al., 2013; Cuijpers et al., 2015; 2017; 2019; De Poel et al., 2016) and interacting with virtual walkers (Meerhoff et al., 2014; 2017; 2019; Meerhoff & De Poel, 2014). Other examples involve analysis of interaction between opponents in singles tennis (De Poel & Noorbergen, 2017; De Poel et al., 2014; McGarry & De Poel, 2016) alongside testing an oscillator model for competitive (or: antagonistic) interpersonal interaction (De Poel, 2016) and a more recently project on interaction between two walkers, sprinters, long-distance runners, etc. (Blikslager & De Poel, 2017; Roerdink et al., 2017), which also involves running in interaction with auditory sources (e.g. music). Besides the sports-related dynamics, I also focus more generally on modelling (De Poel, 2016; Withagen et al., 2017) and universal coordination (lab-)tasks. Of particular interest is the recent examinations regarding mechanical coupling between agents (e.g., Cuijpers et al., 2019; Roerdink et al., 2017) which is a novel and exciting niche in the area of interactional behaviour.