Nonverbal Synchrony Between Dyads As A Function Of Protective Versus Acquisitive Self-Monitoring

Nonverbal Synchrony Between Dyads As A Function Of Protective Versus Acquisitive Self-Monitoring poster

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Audio Transcript

Research Authorship:

Taylor Santioni, Sophia Klebener, Christopher Leone, Arielle Kantor, & Robert Moulder

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Christopher Leone | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Psychology


Synchrony is coordinated nonverbal behavior between two individuals (Ramseyer & Tschacher, 2006). Dispositional differences in self-monitoring involves responsivity to others (Fuglestad & Snyder, 2010). Acquisitive self-monitoring entails responsivity for gain social/nonsocial rewards, whereas protective self-monitoring entails responsivity for avoiding social/nonsocial losses (Wilmot, 2015). We explored the connection between self-monitoring and nonverbal synchrony. Pairs of participants had 5-minute conversation on a non-controversial topic to control for the influence of affect on synchrony (Tschacher et al., 2014). We utilized Motion Energy Analysis and Windowed Crossed Correlation software to quantify nonverbal synchrony. Participants completed the 25-item Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder, 1974), and responses were score or protective and acquisitive impression management motives (Wilmot et al, 2017). Dyad self-monitoring was calculated as the product of partners’ self-monitoring scores. Controlling for self-reported partner familiarity, separate regression analyses revealed that protective, β=+.21, p = .048, but not acquisitive, β=+.11, p = .287, self-monitoring reliably predicted nonverbal synchrony. These findings extend the literature on (a) synchrony by identifying individual differences in this process and (b) self-monitoring by illuminating the two-dimensional nature of this individual difference variable. Future research should further extend these literatures by examining moderator (e.g., relationship closeness) and mediating (e.g., state anxiety) variables.

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying SOARS today. My name is Taylor Santioni and I am presenting on behalf of myself and Sophia Klebener. We are working under Dr. Christopher Leone of the psychology department.

 The first thing we looked at in our research is self-monitoring; Mark Snyder proposed the original concept of self-monitoring. He wanted to know why individuals acted differently in different social settings and situations. Snyder says that individuals are either high self-monitors or low self-monitors. Individuals who are high self-monitors look more to the situation on how to act in that situation. A good example would be you may act differently with your friends than you do with your family or your church congregation! Low self-monitors are more self-congruent. These individuals are going to basically be the same person in every situation. An example would be someone who says something funny to their friends may also say the same thing to their parents or their teacher!

More recently a researcher by the name of Michael Wilmot proposed the bivariate model of self-monitoring; he wanted to know why individuals acted in this manner in the first place! Wilmot said that people are engaging in acquisitive self-monitoring or protective self-monitoring. Acquisitive self-monitoring would be individuals trying to gain social or nonsocial rewards (that may be money, power, status) and protective would do the opposite as they are trying to avoid those social and nonsocial losses.

We also looked at nonverbal synchrony which is the overall coordinated body movements between two individuals. If you have ever been out with a friend or on a date and you notice you guys are both leaning in at the same time, you both have your hands up at the same time, those coordinated body movements would be what we classify as nonverbal synchrony.

And very broadly we wanted to know what the relationship between self-monitoring and nonverbal synchrony is between two individuals interacting.

We took 190 college students and had them take the 25-item Snyder Self-monitoring Scale. We then took them in a different room and we video recorded them for 5-minutes having a conversation. We chose a noncontroversial topic (they talked about what classes they were currently taking, what their after-college plans were) because past literature has shown that there is an effect of affect on synchrony.

We then took those video recordings and uploaded them into a software called Motion Energy Analysis; the software is able to calculate the amounts of nonverbal synchrony between the two individuals. We then took that data and uploaded it into Windows Cross Correlation which is a statistical software that gave us our results.

We found that individuals engaging in protective self-monitoring had the highest degrees of overall nonverbal synchrony between them when interacting.

This finding is interesting because past literature has shown that individuals interacting that have high degrees of nonverbal synchrony between them have shown to be more genuine in their interpersonal interactions. So, these individual engaging in protective self-monitoring may be more genuine than we think!

Looking at nonverbal synchrony is important because it has implications for client and clinician relationships. The higher degrees of nonverbal synchrony between clients and their therapists have shown to have more favorable therapeutic outcomes and a better relationship between the client and therapist!

In the future we would like to look at both moderator and mediating variables. One moderator variable we would like to look at is relationship closeness and a mediating variable we would like to look at is state anxiety.

Again, I’d like to thank you very much for coming and listening to our presentation and looking at our poster! If you have any questions please feel free to email me directly at

Thank you so much and have a great day!