Interpersonal Coordination of Perception and Memory in Real-Time Online Social Interaction

AbstractThe quiet hum of interpersonal coordination that runs throughout social communication and interaction shows how individuals can subtly influence one another’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions over time. While the majority of research on coordination studies face-to-face interaction, recent advances in crowdsourcing afford the opportunity to conduct large-scale, real-time social interaction experiments. We take advantage of these tools to explore interpersonal coordination in a “minimally interactive context,” distilling the richness of natural communication into a tightly controlled setting to explore how people become coupled in their perceptual and memory systems while performing a task together. Consistent with previous work on postural sway and gaze, we found that individuals become coupled to one another’s cognitive processes without needing to be co-located or fully interactive with their partner; interestingly, although participants had no information about their partner and no means of direct communication, we also found hints that social forces can shape minimally interactive contexts, similar to effects observed in face-to-face interaction.

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