Sync or separate? No compelling evidence for unintentional interpersonal coordination between Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay on the 100 m world record race

Blikslager, F. & de Poel, H. 2017 In : Journal of Experimental Psychology : Human Perception and Performance. 43, 7, p. 1466-1471 6 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle



In a recent observation article in JEP:HPP (Varlet & Richardson, 2015) the 100-m sprint final of the World Championship in Athletics in Berlin of 2009 (i.e., the current world record race) was analyzed. That study reported occurrence of spontaneous, unintentional interpersonal synchronization between Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay, the respective winner and runner-up of that race. In the present commentary paper, however, we argue that the results and conclusion of that study cannot be warranted due to methodological shortcomings. We addressed the same research question and re-assessed the same race using an alternative data analysis method. These results revealed that as yet there is no sufficient ground to conclude that in the 100m world record race synchronization occurred between Bolt and Gay. At the same time, our re-analysis suggested that even at this very elite level the individual movement frequencies did seem to vary to such an extent that synchronization would theoretically not be impossible, thereby providing incentives for further examination of potential unintentional synchronization in co-active sports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1466-1471
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology : Human Perception and Performance
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

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