Being on the same wavelength: Behavioral synchrony between partners and its influence on the experience of intimacy

Hilla Sharon-David, Moran Mizrahi, Michal Rinott, Yulia Golland, Gurit E. Birnbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Although coordination between partners has been considered in the clinical literature as an indication of intimate relationships, the influence of simple motor synchrony on the experience of intimacy has not been established yet. Four studies examined whether synchrony, temporal alignment of simple motor periodic behaviors between partners, instilled a sense of intimacy. In Study 1, same-sex strangers discussed positive or neutral events while their motion synchrony and experiences of intimacy were measured. In Study 2, same-sex strangers pedaled bicycles in either synchronous or asynchronous rhythms while discussing personal events and then rated how intimate they felt. Studies 3 and 4 examined whether the effect of synchronization would generalize to perceptions of intimacy and desire among romantically involved heterosexual participants. Results showed that key aspects of intimacy were associated with synchrony or were higher following synchronized versus unsynchronized interactions, suggesting that synchrony serves as a nonverbal mechanism that promotes closeness in intimate situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2983-3008
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral coordination
  • interpersonal synchrony
  • intimacy
  • romantic relationships
  • sexual desire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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