Co-actors exhibit similarity in their structure of behavioural variation that remains stable across range of naturalistic activities

Lillian M. Rigoli*, Tamara Lorenz, Charles Coey, Rachel Kallen, Scott Jordan, Michael J. Richardson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Human behaviour, along with any natural/biological behaviour, has varying degrees of intrinsic ‘noise’ or variability. Many studies have shown that the structure or patterning of this variability is sensitive to changes in task and constraint. Furthermore, two or more humans interacting together often begin to exhibit similar structures of behavioural variability (i.e., the patterning of their behavioural fluctuations becomes aligned or matched) independent of any moment-to-moment synchronization (termed complexity matching). However, much of the previous work has focused on a subset of simple or contrived behaviours within the context of highly controlled laboratory tasks. In the current study, individuals and pairs performed five self-paced (unsupervised), semi-structured activities around a university campus. Empatica E4 wristbands and iPhones were used to record the participants’ behavioural activity via accelerometers and GPS. The results revealed that the structure of variability in naturalistic human behaviour co-varies with the task-goal constraints, and that the patterning of the behavioural fluctuations exhibited by co-acting individuals does become aligned during the performance of everyday activities. The results also revealed that the degree of complexity matching that occurred between pairs remained invariant across activity type, indicating that this measure could be employed as a robust, task-independent index of interpersonal behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6308
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2020

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Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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