Social connection through joint action and interpersonal coordination

Kerry L. Marsh, Michael J. Richardson, R. C. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

337 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-339
Number of pages20
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • joint action
  • social coordination
  • synchrony
  • social affordance
  • cooperation
  • embodiment
  • social embedding
  • ecological
  • dynamical


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