Capacity for social contingency detection continues to develop across adolescence

Karlijn S.F.M. Hermans, Olivia J. Kirtley, Zuzana Kasanova, Robin Achterhof, Noëmi Hagemann, Anu P. Hiekkaranta, Aleksandra Lecei, Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca, Ginette Lafit, Ruben Fossion, Tom Froese, Inez Myin-Germeys*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The capacity for dynamically coordinating behaviour is assumed to have largely matured in infancy. In adolescence—another sensitive period for social development—the primary focus on individual social cognition as the main driver of interaction has prevented the study of actual social interaction as behavioural coordination within dyads. From a dynamic perspective, however, capturing real-time social dynamics is essential for the assessment of social interactive processes. In order to improve the understanding of social development during adolescence, we investigated the potential developmental course of social contingency detection in dynamic interactions. Pairs of 205 Belgian adolescents (83 male, 122 female), aged 11–19, engaged in real-time social interaction via the Perceptual Crossing Experiment (PCE). Comparing early, middle and late adolescents, we found a generally higher performance of late adolescents on behavioural and cognitive measures of social contingency detection, while the reported awareness of the implicitly established social interaction was lower in this group overall. Additionally, late adolescents demonstrated faster improvement of behavioural social coordination throughout the experiment, compared with the other groups. Our results indicate that social interactive processes continue to develop throughout adolescence, which manifests as faster social coordination at the behavioural level. This finding underscores dynamic social interaction within dyads as a new opportunity for identifying altered social development during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-548
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Development
Issue number3
Early online date30 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the FWO Odysseus grant to IM‐G (G0F8416N), which includes the PhD studentship of Karlijn S. F. M. Hermans. Olivia J. Kirtley is supported by a Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship from Research Foundation Flanders (FWO: 1257821N). Zuzana Kasanova was supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 777084. Ruben Fossion and Leonardo Zapata‐Fonseca acknowledge financial support from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) through the DGAPA‐PAPIIT project IA102619. Leonardo Zapata‐Fonseca is grateful for the scholarship 638215 granted by the CONACyT, and a scholarship in the programme Research Grants‐Bi‐nationally Supervised Doctoral Degrees, 2019/20 granted by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Social Development published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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