Nonlinear Dynamics Psychology and Life Sciences, 21(3), 289–317p. (2017)

Attractor Dynamics of Dyadic Interaction: A Recurrence Based Analysis

M. Guevara, R. F. A Cox, M. van Dijk, P. van Geert

The aim of this study was to investigate interpersonal coordination in young children during dyadic problem solving, by using Cross-Recurrence Quantification Analysis (CRQA). We examined the interactions of seven dyads of children (M-age= 5.1 years) in a longitudinal design (6 sessions) with a sequence of problem-solving tasks increasing in difficulty. An innovative implementation of CRQA is presented in order to study the attractor dynamics of dyadic coordination. The analysis consisted of distinguishing two recurrent states in the relationship between children and the task. In other words, the analysis is focused on how the dyadic interaction oscillates between two stable states that for their recurrent presence are considered to be attractors. The distributed dyadic interaction (DDI) state indicates that both children contribute equally to the solution of the task. The unequal dyadic interaction (UDI) state indicating that only one of the children contributes actively to the solution of the task. Results showed that the DDI was more frequent than the UDI but that the dynamics of these two attractor states were quite similar. The behaviors within these states increased in complexity over time, although they did so in DDI more strongly than UDI. The overall recurrence, which indicates the global level of coordination between the individuals in the dyad across all time points, was moderately correlated with the performance of the children.

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