Partner gaze shapes the relationship between symptoms of psychopathology and interpersonal coordination

M. C. Macpherson*, A. J. Brown, R. W. Kallen, M. J. Richardson, L. K. Miles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Interpersonal coordination is a key determinant of successful social interaction but can be disrupted when people experience symptoms related to social anxiety or autism. Effective coordination rests on individuals directing their attention towards interaction partners. Yet little is known about the impact of the attentional behaviours of the partner themselves. As the gaze of others has heightened salience for those experiencing social anxiety or autism, addressing this gap can provide insight into how symptoms of these disorders impact coordination. Using a novel virtual reality task, we investigated whether partner gaze (i.e., direct vs. averted) influenced the emergence of interpersonal coordination. Results revealed: (i) spontaneous coordination was diminished in the averted (cf. direct) gaze condition; (ii) spontaneous coordination was positively related to symptoms of social anxiety, but only when partner gaze was averted. This latter finding contrasts the extant literature and points to the importance of social context in shaping the relationship between symptoms of psychopathology and interpersonal coordination.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14288
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2024

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Copyright the Author(s) 2024. 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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