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Top Cogn Sci. 2009 Apr;1(2):320-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2009.01022.x.

Social connection through joint action and interpersonal coordination.

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Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action (CESPA)Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, StorrsUniversity of Connecticut, Greater HartfordDepartment of Psychology, Colby CollegeDepartment of Psychology, College of the Holy Cross.


The pull to coordinate with other individuals is fundamental, serving as the basis for our social connectedness to others. Discussed is a dynamical and ecological perspective to joint action, an approach that embeds the individual's mind in a body and the body in a niche, a physical and social environment. Research on uninstructed coordination of simple incidental rhythmic movement, along with research on goal-directed, embodied cooperation, is reviewed. Finally, recent research is discussed that extends the coordination and cooperation studies, examining how synchronizing with another, and how emergent social units of perceiving and acting are reflected in people's feelings of connection to others.


Cooperation; Dynamical; Ecological; Embodiment; Joint action; Social affordance; Social coordination; Social embedding; Synchrony

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