Some interest from Physicists has recently been shown in the rhythmic applause phenomenon (Neda, Nikitin & Vicsek 2003). The main goal has been to explain this phenomenon with the methods of statistical physics. However, some assumptions made about human movement and behavior remain crude.
It seems that experiments on human movement coordination are critical for understanding this phenomenon. For instance, it has been observed experimentally that the fingers of both hands synchronize when oscillating at increasing frequency (Kelso 1984); moreover, the same kind of synchronization appears when two persons, producing rhythmic movement, are visually coupled (Schmidt, Carello & Turvey 1990). On the other hand, transitions have been observed between frequency ratios when frequency movement is increased (Haken, Peper, Beek & Daffertshofer 1996). The Haken Kelso Bunz model and its generalizations, which simulate these experiments, allow us to better understand the phenomenon of synchronized clapping. Interestingly, a new level of organization can appear where a different kind of coordination law is exhibited.