The Courtship Dance: Patterns of Nonverbal Synchronization in Opposite-Sex Encounters

Research paper by Karl Grammer, Kirsten B. Kruck, Magnus S. Magnusson

Indexed on: 01 Mar '98Published on: 01 Mar '98Published in: Journal of Nonverbal Behavior


This study examines the existence of behavioral correlates of synchronization on different levels of analysis and methods. We were unable to demonstrate a relation between synchronization defined in terms of movement echo or position mirroring and subjective experience of pleasure and interest in opposite-sex encounters. Significant results were found for a phenomenon we describe as hierarchically patterned synchronization. These patterns were identified with the help of a newly developed search algorithm. If a female is interested in a male, highly complex patterns of behavior with a constant time structure emerge. The patterns are pair-specific and independent from behavioral content. This rhythmic structure of interactions is discussed in functional terms of human courtship.