Congruency effects in interpersonal coordination

Justin Fine, Cameron T. Gibbons, Eric Amazeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Research on interpersonal coordination has demonstrated that incongruent tasks lead to unintended movements in the orthogonal plane. These effects have been interpreted using both an embodied simulation and coordination dynamics approach. To distinguish between these two perspectives, two experiments examined whether this congruency effect is best defined spatially or anatomically. In the first experiment, participants coordinated congruent and incongruent rhythmic arm movements with an actor. To dissociate spatial and anatomical congruency, the actor was rotated 90° in the coronal plane for half of the trials. In the second experiment, participants coordinated movements of different limbs (leg and arm). Spatial and anatomical congruency was dissociated here by rotating the actor in the transverse plane. In both experiments, the unintended movements associated with the congruency effect emerged as a function of spatial congruency; there was no congruency effect associated with anatomical congruency. The data suggests that these unintended movements represent the recruitment of additional df necessary to stabilize an unstable form of coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1541-1556
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Dynamical systems
  • Embodied
  • Mirror neurons
  • Simulation
  • Social coordination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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