The embodiment of attachment: Directional and shaping movements in adults’ mirror game

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Specific body-movement parameters have been suggested by the Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP) to be linked to social interactions and communication behaviors in adults, yet very few studies have explored these associations empirically. Here we analyzed the movements of 48 participants who played the mirror game, which involved two players mirroring each other's movements during a nonverbal interaction. Their movements were assessed using tools based on the Laban Movement Analysis and later defined in the KMP. In addition, the participants completed the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR) attachment questionnaire. Two major results emerged. First: high scores on the anxiety and avoidance attachment scales were found to be significantly correlated with a low use of ‘shaping in planes’ movements, which involve the use of at least one plane. Furthermore, specific use of one dimensional ‘directional movements’ and two dimensional ‘shaping in planes’ movements, significantly differ between adults with high anxiety scores and adults with high avoidance scores. Second, using factor analysis, three main groups (factors) of the movement measures were identified and were significantly correlated to the attachment orientation. The findings indicate that analysis of movement interactions could provide information that is linked to attachment orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Anxiety
  • Attachment orientation
  • Avoidance
  • Dyadic interaction
  • Embodiment
  • Kestenberg Movement Profile
  • Laban Movement Analysis
  • Mirror game

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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