On the coordination dynamics of (animate) moving bodies

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Coordination comes in many guises and represents one of the most striking, but least understood features of living things. The different forms that coordination takes and how it emerges and changes are of great interest to many disciplines, particularly the social and behavioral sciences, neuroscience, psychology, biology and physics itself. Inspired originally by theories of self-organization in open, nonequilibrium systems, the science of coordination (coordination dynamics) seeks to understand coordinated patterns at many scales and for multiple functions in living things. Here we review some of the key concepts of coordination dynamics along with some recent developments and posit ten tenets of the theory that may guide further understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031001
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physics: Complexity
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Much of the material in this invited perspective is based on a plenary lecture entitled ‘On Coordination’ at the Conference on Complex Systems 2020 (CCS2020), held online Dec. 7–11, 2020. I am grateful to the Chairman, Prof. Panos Argyrakis and the Steering Committee of the Complex Systems Society for their kind invitation to present. The research described herein was supported by the NIMH, NSF, and ONR in the US, and the Human Frontiers Science Program abroad. I am grateful to all of them. Appreciation is also extended to the Davimos Family Endowment for Excellence in Science for their longstanding support. The research on infants mentioned in the text and the preparation of this article were supported by the FAU Foundation (Eminent Scholar in Science). This paper is dedicated to the memory of my long-term collaborator and colleague, the electrophysiologist and complexity scholar, Emmanuelle Tognoli.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • Perspective
  • behavior
  • brain
  • synergy
  • agency
  • coordination dynamics
  • complementary pairs
  • collective variables/order parameters


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