Exploring the reciprocal relationship between empathy & interpersonal synchronisation


Persefoni Tzanaki

Persefoni Tzanaki

Persefoni Tzanaki is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, working with Prof. Renee Timmers, Prof. Nicola Dibben and Dr Jennifer MacRitchie. Persefoni holds a BEd in Primary School Education (University of Thessaly, Greece) and an MA in Psychology of Music (University of Sheffield). Her PhD research focuses on the link between empathy and interpersonal synchronisation in musical interactions of musically untrained adults and children.

Persefoni is also interested in the use of music as a tool to support the rehabilitation and therapy of physical disabilities. Parallel to her PhD, she has been working on a research project evaluating the feasibility of a piano-based occupational therapy programme in improving hand function and quality of life in children with cerebral palsy. The project is funded by the Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield and is being conducted in collaboration with the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield.

Persefoni's Project

Persefoni's PhD research is focused on the relationship between empathy and interpersonal synchronisation and how these capacities influence one another in musical group interactions of musically untrained adults and children. The project will seek to investigate significant knowledge gaps in each directionality of the empathy-synchronisation link before exploring the possibility that these capacities are connected in a positive feedback loop, enhancing one another in a reciprocal manner. The project is funded by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities as a University of Sheffield Research Scholarship.

Persefoni's Publications

Tzanaki, P. (2022). The positive feedback loop of empathy and interpersonal synchronisation: Discussing a theoretical model and its implications for musical and social development. Music & Science, 5. https://doi.org/10.1177/20592043221142715

Persefoni's Conference Proceedings

Tzanaki, P. (2022). Tapping with a stranger: How does empathy mediate the affiliative effects of interpersonal synchronisation?. In N. Moran & Y. Kim (Eds.) Proceedings of CIM22: “Participation” (pp. 31-32). Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology. https://doi.org/10.2218/cim22.1a15

Tzanaki, P. (2018). Empathy and rhythmic entrainment during children's musical interaction: cognitive and motor-emotional approaches. In E. Himonides, A. King, & F. Cuadrado (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sempre MET 2018: Researching Music, Education, Technology, (pp. 9-22). Sempre. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10046069/