Too late to coordinate: Contextual influences on behavioral synchrony

Lynden Miles, Jordan L. Griffiths, Michael J. Richardson, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


The temporal coupling of behavior serves as a foundation for effective social exchange with synchronized actions moderating core components of social-cognitive functioning. Questions remain, however, regarding the precise conditions under which this form of behavioral coordination emerges. In particular do social factors moderate the extent to which people synchronize their movements with others? Given that synchrony serves as an important non-verbal route through which interpersonal connections can be forged, the current investigation considered whether contextual influences moderate the emergence of behavioral coupling. To explore this issue, movements were recorded while participants performed a repetitive activity (i.e., stepping) with an interaction partner who either turned up for the experiment on time or was 15 minutes late. Results revealed that coordination (i.e., in-phase synchrony) was substantially reduced when participonts interacted with a tardy partner, a finding that highlights the impact that social factors exert on the spontaneous emergence of behavioral synchrony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Nov 2009
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • unintentional interpersonal coordination
  • nonconscious mimicry
  • visual coordination
  • phase-transitions
  • perception
  • rapport
  • chameleon
  • movements
  • dynamics
  • impact


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