Tuncgenc, B., Cohen, E., & Fawcett, C. (2015) Rock with me: The role of action synchrony in infants’ social and non-social choices. Child Development

Matching the timing of one’s actions to the actions of others has been proposed to increase affiliation and pro-sociality. Although coordinated movements facilitate early social interactions, not much is known about the mechanisms and effects of action synchrony throughout development. Two studies investigated 12-month-olds’ (Study 1, n = 40) and 9-month-olds’ (Study 2, n = 41) preferences for synchronous others in a social as opposed to a non-social context. It is found that action synchrony exclusively guides infants’ social choices at 12 months. In contrast, 9-month-olds did not show any preferences for synchronous movements in social or non-social contexts. Results suggest that action synchrony is important in guiding infants’ social preferences and its effects emerge toward the end of the first year of life.