Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Coordination, Stereotype Threat, Rhythm, Joint Action

Major Advisor

Kerry L. Marsh

Associate Advisor

James Dixon

Associate Advisor

Diane Quinn

Associate Advisor

Steven Harrison

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Great progress has been made on both intra- and interpersonal coordination by recasting them as the product of distributed parts and processes, in terms closer to those of physics than psychology. However, insofar as coordination is an a posteriori product of competing and cooperating forces defined across an organism-environment system, the full breadth of forces present must be considered. This requires approaching the consequences of the organism’s embedding within higher-level social and cultural systems.

Across three experiments, Stereotype Threat (ST) manipulations were used to affect the sociocultural context or meaning of coordination. These experiments were intended to address complementary issues in coordination and ST research. First, can ST affect the performance of a common rhythmic coordination task? Second, is it the case that ST impacts coordination through attentional processes? And third, does the effect of ST extend to interpersonal coordination, and if so, what potential social consequences exist? In Experiment 1, participants completed an intrapersonal bimanual rhythmic coordination task with either a Control or ST task frame. Experiment 2 was similar, but also featured a distractor task, the presence of which was manipulated within-subjects. In Experiment 3, participant dyads completed an interpersonal rhythmic coordination task. Dyads were composed of either two members who received the Control task frame (Control Dyads), or one member who received the Control task frame and one who received the ST task frame (Asymmetrical Dyads).

In all three experiments, ST was shown to significantly affect performance on the coordination task: the ability of both individual participants and dyads to maintain a specified mode of coordination was diminished under ST. In Experiments 1 and 3, but not Experiment 2, ST also significantly decreased the stability of coordination. Participants who received the ST task frame reported significantly higher levels of stereotype activation in all three experiments. ST was shown to increase self-reported anxiety in Experiment 1, though this effect was not found in Experiments 2 or 3. Finally, Experiment 3 suggests that ST may affect interpersonal feelings of liking or comfort, and further that these factors are associated with task performance.