UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Social interactions typically involve movements of the body that become synchronized over time and both intentional and spontaneous interactional synchrony have been found to be an essential part of successful human interaction. However, our understanding of the importance of temporal dimensions of social motor synchrony in social dysfunction is limited. Here, we used a pendulum coordination paradigm to assess dynamic, process-oriented measures of social motor synchrony in adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our data indicate that adolescents with ASD demonstrate less synchronization in both spontaneous and intentional interpersonal coordination. Coupled oscillator modeling suggests that ASD participants assembled a synchronization dynamic with a weaker coupling strength, which corresponds to a lower sensitivity and decreased attention to the movements of the other person, but do not demonstrate evidence of a delay in information transmission. The implication of these findings for isolating an ASD-specific social synchronization deficit that could serve as an objective, bio-behavioral marker is discussed.


autism spectrum disorders, coupled oscillators, social dynamic behavior, social dysfunction, social synchrony

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © 2016 Fitzpatrick, Frazier, Cochran, Mitchell, Coleman and Schmidt.

DOI of Published Version



Front Psychol. 2016 Aug 31;7:1323. Link to article on publisher's site eCollection 2016.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Frontiers in psychology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.