Analyzing joint-action and group-dynamics with Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA) in R

Analyzing joint-action and group-dynamics with Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA) in R

Workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, September 27–28, 2017

This workshop provides hands-on training for analyzing multivariate timeseries data using Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA) techniques in R.

Content-wise, the focus lies on the analysis of timeseries/sequences of joint action and group behavior (such as motion capture, physiological measures, sequences of coded behavior, transcripts etc…) in order to quantify group-dynamics such as synchrony and coupling between individuals, as well as leader-follower relationships. However, the analysis can be applied to any multivariate timeseries data.

To that end, we will introduce RQA techniques – particularly Cross-Recurrence Quantification Analysis (CRQA) and Multidimensional Recurrence Analysis (MdRQA) – which have been employed in a variety of group- and joint-actions studies. We will provide some theoretical input for participants, but focus on hand-on training with R using simulated and real-world data.

Participants are welcome to bring their own data, which they can analyze during the training sessions or together with the instructors at the end of the workshop.

Basic knowledge of R is helpful, but we will provide participants with the basic syntax to load data, store results, and use the different analysis tools. Important: Participants will need to bring their own laptop.


Day 1

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Preparing for the workshop
Installing R and packages; distributing exercises


Coffee Break


Basics of Recurrence Quantification Analysis I: Nominal RQA and CRQA
Introduction to Recurrence Plots and Cross Recurrence Plots when temporal streams are nominal (categorical); Measures extracted from RP and their meaning

13:15–15:00Basics of Recurrence Quantification Analysis II: Phase-space reconstruction
Introduction to phase-space reconstruction; Hands-on: selecting embedding parameters
15:00–15:20Coffee Break
15:20–17:00(Cross) Recurrence Quantification Analysis of continuous data
Introduction to CRQA; Hands-on: CRQA with continuous and nominal data

Day 2

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Diagonal Cross-Recurrence Quantification Analysis
Introduction to leader-follower analysis using DCRPs; Hands-on: calculating DRPs

10:30–10:50Coffee Break
10:50–12:30Multidimensional Recurrence Quantification Analysis
Introduction to MdRQA; Hands-on: Using MdRQA on group (n > 2) data, and analysis of different intra-group levels
13:15–15:00Practice session: Bring your own data / Q&A
Practicing on different data sets; analyze your own data and ask anything that you want to know!
15:00–15:20Coffee Break
Final remarks and goodbye…

Costs and registration:

Registration is closed. If you have any questions, please contact Sebastian Wallot:

Preparation & Materials

R packages needed:

  • tseriesChaos
  • nonlinearTseries
  • sparseM
  • ggplot
  • crqa

...and all their dependencies.

Also check out:

Recurrence Plots and Cross Recurrence Plots

Coco, M. I. & Dale, R. (2014). Cross-recurrence quantification analysis of categorical and continuous time series: an R package. Frontiers in Quantitative Psychology and Measurement, 5, 510.

Wallot, S. (2017). Recurrence Quantification Analysis of Processes and Products of Discourse: A Tutorial in R. Discourse Processes, 1-24.

Wallot, S., Roepstorff, A., & Mønster, D. (2016). Multidimensional Recurrence Quantification Analysis (MdRQA) for the analysis of multidimensional time-series: A software implementation in MATLAB and its application to group-level data in joint action. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1835.


Sebastian Wallot, PhD
Language and Literature Group, Max Planck Insitute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany

Giuseppe Leonardi, PhD
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Paderborn University, Germany


There are no reservations pre-arranged. However, we recommend the following options. Note that you will need to walk or take public transportation to reach the conference venue. The prices in brackets are only estimates (per night), they will vary depending on when you are booking.

Within walking distance:

Hotel Mondial (84-121€), 6 min walk

Villa Orange  (105-150€), 16 min walk

Long walking distance or public transportation recommended:

NH Collection Frankfurt City (95€)

NH Collection Frankfurt City Vilbeler Str. 2
20 Min walk (or 8 Min to Eschenheimer Tor. Than 2 min to Grüneburgweg)

NH Frankfurt Messe Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 38
26 Min walk (or 16 min to U-station Alte Oper than change at Hauptwache to northern lines U1, U2, U3, U8 – 10 min)

NH Frankfurt Villa Emil-Sulzbach-Str. 14-16
30 min walk (or 20 – 30 min with U6 or U7 at Bockenheimer Warte to Hauptwache)

Frankfurt Hostel (45–55€)
15 min – 3 min to Hauptbahnhof: every S-Bahn directions: Hanau, Offenbach, Südbahnhof, Darmstadt to Taunusanlage than walk 10 min or continue to Hauptwache and take northern lines.

Pension Alpha (39€)
20 min walk (or same as Frankfurt Hostel, but 5 min walk to Hauptbahnhof)

Hotel Elbe (about 40€)
22 min walk (or same as Frankfurt Hostel)

Frankfurt youth hostel Prices vary between 38.50€ under the age of 27) and 43€ (27 years and older)
18 min (12 min walk to Schweizer Platz than take northern lines U1, U2, U3, U8 )

Smart Stay Hotel (45€)
1h with S-Bahn via Wallau Bahnhof

Airbnb  (prices and locations vary)

Travel Information for Public Transportation to Conference Venue:

Please check whether you will need a visa for Germany! Applying for and obtaining the visa is your own responsibility.

GENERAL: How to purchase a train ticket:
You have to purchase a ticket on a machine with German or English as operating languages.  Those machines are placed in the entrance areas of the station, usually before you are taking stairs down to the train platforms. Just click “Einzelfahrt Frankfurt” or “Single trip Frankfurt” for an adult. You need change to buy a ticket.

Directions upon arrival at the airport:
Please follow the signs to the “Regional-Bahnhof” at the airport, the underground train station for the S-trains. After purchasing a ticket, go downstairs and take S8 or S9, direction “Hanau”. Get off and change trains at the station “Hauptwache”. Take the U1, U2, U3 or U8 not to Frankfurt Süd but to any other directions (Oberursel (Taunus)-Hohemark, Ginnheim, Nieder-Eschbach, Riedberg) and get off the second stop at “Grüneburgweg”.

Directions upon arrival by train:
At Frankfurt main station (“Hauptbahnhof”) take underground line U4 or U5 to “Willy-Brandt-Platz”. Get off and change trains at “Willy-Brandt-Platz”. Take the U1, U2, U3 or U8 not to Frankfurt Süd but to any other directions (see above) and get off the third stop at “Grüneburgweg”.

How to get from the underground station “Grüneburgweg” to MPIEA:
Take the exit "Grüneburgweg", after 50 m turn right into "Grüneburgweg". Stay on the right side of the street. After crossing the second side street ("Im Trutz"), you will find our Institute in the building Westend Carree on your right, entrance Grüneburgweg 14.

Travel Direction upon Arrival by Car:
On the motorway A5 at Autobahnkreuz (interchange) Nordwestkreuz Frankfurt keep right and follow the signs A66 in direction “F-Miquelallee/F-Stadtmitte”. Take the fork in the direction of Frankfurt-Miquelallee and follow A66 for another 5 km.
Continue on Miquellallee/B8 for another 700 m, then turn right into „Eschersheimer Landstraße”. After about 1200 m turn right into “Grüneburgweg”. When you pass the street "Im Trutz“ you will find our Institute in the building Westend Carree on your right, entrance Grüneburgweg 14.
Please note: The parking capacities of our car park are limited. Please let us know in advance, if you arrive by car.