Interpersonal coordination broadly captures the ways in which interacting individuals become more similar over time in their behavior, cognition, and affect over time. The research area around interpersonal coordination is poised to yield unique insights into questions of human communication, interaction, and social behavior. As a field, interpersonal coordination still has immense room to grow---providing an exciting challenge to interdisciplinary researchers. Interpersonal coordination has enjoyed an explosion of interest in recent years, making these challenges even more urgent. Here, in collaboration with various coauthors, I present three projects that address some of the key theoretical, methodological, and experimental issues facing the research area today.
First, I present a data-driven exploration of the terminology surrounding interpersonal coordination (Paxton & Dale, in preparation). From alignment to synergy, there are handfuls of terms that are used to describe this social phenomenon, with little to no agreement across the field on their relation to one another. Using scientometric and corpus analysis tools, the first project analyzes a corpus of thousands of abstracts on related research to shed some light on the implicit structure in the data.
Next, I introduce PsyGlass, an open-source application that turns Google Glass into a tool for naturalistic data collection (Paxton, Rodriguez, & Dale, 2015, Behavior Research Methods). The inherently social nature of interpersonal coordination poses an interesting problem to cognitive scientists who must attempt to balance external validity with experimenter control. PsyGlass is designed for naturalistic exploration of theory-driven questions in interpersonal interaction by facilitating surreptitious data collection and moment-to-moment control over participant visual stimuli.
Finally, I explore how context modulates patterns of coordination in gaze patterns (Paxton, Dale, & D. C. Richardson, in preparation). This chapter contributes to emerging work that explores how higher-level social factors can alter patterns of coordination by focusing on conflict.
This dissertation, Coordination: Theoretical, Methodological, and Experimental Perspectives, is submitted by Alexandra Paxton in 2015 in partial fulfillment of the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive and Information Sciences at the University of California, Merced, under the guidance of dissertation committee chair Rick Dale.