Out of Sync: Nonverbal Synchrony in Social Anxiety Disorder

Maya Asher, Amitay Kauffmann, Idan M. Aderka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined nonverbal synchrony during opposite-sex interactions of individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Participants were 156 individuals: 38 diagnosed with SAD and 118 individuals who were not socially anxious (NSA). Participants formed 78 dyads of either 2 NSA individuals (control dyads; n = 40) or 1 individual with SAD and 1 NSA individual (SAD dyads; n = 38). Dyads were randomly assigned to either a closeness-generating conversation or a small-talk conversation, and nonverbal synchrony was derived from computer analysis of videos. We found that for control dyads, closeness-generating conversations led to increased nonverbal synchrony compared with small-talk conversations but did not find the same outcome in SAD dyads. We also found a positive association between social anxiety and nonverbal synchrony in small-talk conversations but a negative association in closeness-generating conversations. Thus, we found evidence for impaired nonverbal synchrony in SAD using objective measures. Implications for psychopathology and treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-294
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • MEA
  • interpersonal interaction
  • motion-energy analysis
  • nonverbal synchrony
  • social anxiety disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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