Dynamics of simultaneous and imitative bodily coordination in trust and distrust

Carlos Cornejo, Esteban Hurtado, Zamara Cuadros, Alejandra Torres-Araneda, Javiera Paredes, Himmbler Olivares, David Carré, Juan P. Robledo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Body synchronization between interacting people involves coordinative movements in time, space and form. The introduction of newer technologies for automated video analysis and motion tracking has considerably improved the accurate measurement of coordination, particularly in temporal and spatial terms. However, the form of interpersonal coordination has been less explored. In the present study we address this gap by exploring the effect of trust on temporal and morphological patterns of interpersonal coordination. We adapted an optical motion-capture system to record spontaneous body movements in pairs of individuals engaged in natural conversations. We conducted two experiments in which we manipulated trust through a breach of expectancy (Study 1: 10 trustful and 10 distrustful participants) and friendship (Study 2: 20 dyads of friends and 20 dyads of strangers). In Study 1, results show the participants' strong, early mirror-like coordination in response to the confederates' breach of trust. In Study 2, imitative coordination tended to be more pronounced in pairs of friends than in pairs of non-friends. Overall, our results show not only that listeners move in reaction to speakers, but also that speakers react to listeners with a chain of dynamic coordination patterns affected by the immediate disposition of, and long-term relationship with, their interlocutors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1546
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Cornejo, Hurtado, Cuadros, Torres-Araneda, Paredes, Olivares, Carré and Robledo.


  • Anatomical imitation
  • Imitation
  • Interpersonal coordination
  • Mirroring
  • Mocap
  • Simultaneous coordination
  • Trust


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