Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Behavioral Sciences



First Advisor

Theodore A. Walls


Collective synchrony is the simultaneous occurrence of behavior, cognition, emotion, and/or physiology within a group of three or more people. In this dissertation, I draw from various literatures to inform exploratory empirical and methodological investigation of collective synchrony in team sports. These include physiological synchrony, which has been examined primarily in dyads, and collective behavior in sports teams.

In Manuscript 1, I present a conceptual framework of collective synchrony in team sports. I argue that three possible antecedents (copresence, shared task, and coordination) underlie the interindividual matching of emotion, behavior, and cognition. This matching contributes to collective behavioral synchrony and/or collective physiological synchrony. These are conceptualized as a coupled system due to the relationship between human movement and physiology. Collective flow, a collective psychological state that may include interindividual matching of emotion, behavior, and/or cognition, is included in the framework as a possible outcome of collective synchrony.

In Manuscript 2, I provide a systematic review of 29 studies of collective synchrony. In this review, I decided to include not only studies on team sports, but also studies of collectives encompassing a variety of settings, substantive aims, variables of interest, and analytical methods. My review focuses on several characteristics of this multidisciplinary pool of articles including the (a) contexts, populations, and synchrony variables examined; (b) analytical methods used; and (c) notable findings reported.

In Manuscript 3, I articulate and apply a regime-switching dynamic factor analytical approach to examine collective synchrony in collegiate men's and women's soccer teams. In Study 1, I analyze collective synchrony in two variables characterizing women's soccer players' movements during competitive games. In Study 2, I investigate collective synchrony in men's soccer teammates' changes in heart rate during small-sided practice games. Reporting on the results of these studies, I show how features of substantive interest, such as the magnitude and prevalence of collective synchrony, can be parameterized, interpreted, and aggregated. I highlight several key findings of these studies as well as opportunities for future research, in terms of methodological and substantive aims for advancing the study of collective synchrony. Results from an applied simulation, through which I tested the analytical approach on data with characteristics similar to that analyzed in Studies 1 and 2, supplementary tables and figures, and R software code are provided in the appendices.

Available for download on Monday, November 30, 2020