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Beyond simultaneity: temporal interdependence of behaviour is key to affiliative effects of interpersonal synchrony in children

Bowsher-Murray, Claire, Jones, Catherine R. G. ORCID: and von dem Hagen, Elisabeth ORCID: 2023. Beyond simultaneity: temporal interdependence of behaviour is key to affiliative effects of interpersonal synchrony in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 232 , 105669. 10.1016/j.jecp.2023.105669

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Interpersonal synchrony (IPS) is the temporal coordination of behavior during social interactions. IPS acts as a social cue signifying affiliation both when children witness IPS between others and when they experience it themselves. However, it is unclear which temporal qualities of IPS produce these effects and why. We hypothesized that both the simultaneity and temporal regularity of partners’ actions would influence affiliation judgments and that subjective perceptions of IPS (“togetherness”) would play a role in mediating these relations. In two online tasks, children aged 4 to 11 years listened to a pair of children tapping (witnessed IPS; n = 68) or themselves tapped with another child (experienced IPS; n = 63). Tapping partners were presented as real, but the sounds attributed to them were computer generated so that their temporal relations could be experimentally manipulated. The simultaneity and regularity of their tapping was systematically manipulated across trials. For witnessed IPS, both the simultaneity and regularity of partners’ tapping significantly positively affected the perceived degree of affiliation between them. These effects were mediated by the perceived togetherness of the tapping. No affiliative effects of IPS were found in the experienced IPS condition. Our findings suggest that both the simultaneity and regularity of partners’ actions influence children’s affiliation judgments when witnessing IPS via elicited perceptions of togetherness. We conclude that temporal interdependence—which includes but is not limited to simultaneity of action—is responsible for inducing perceptions of affiliation during witnessed IPS.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-0965
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 27 February 2023
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 23:35

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