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

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments. The author is grateful to Michele Mosca for encouraging him to write up this note. F.S. would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and John Schank for joyful discussions on lattice-based signature schemes. F.S. acknowledges support from Ontario Research Fund, Industry Canada and Cryp-toWorks21.

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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