Coregulation (or co-regulation) is a term described by psychologist Alan Fogel, as a "continuous unfolding of individual action that is susceptible to being continuously modified by the continuously changing actions of the partner." An important aspect of this idea is that communication is a continuous and dynamic process, rather than the exchange of discrete information. Fogel set forth his ideas in his 1993 book, Developing Through Relationships. As a simple example of coregulation, a speaker may adjust their words or tone of voice based on their perceptions of a listener's facial expressions or body language - and this may occur on an ongoing basis. Fogel asserts that coregulation is creative because social partners create meaning dynamically together, rather than simply exchanging information about what was known to them prior to their interaction. In a recent paper, Fogel and a colleague, Andrea Garvey, propose a theoretical model of "Alive Communication" which is based on dynamic systems theory and includes three linked processes, coregulation, "ordinary variability," and innovation [1].



Individuals on the autism spectrum have extremely minimal, or no coregulation, and without intervention cannot participate in social interaction as equal partners.Autism Spectrum Quarterly Winter 2005 Coregulation is a key concept in Relationship Development Intervention, a treatment program for autism and Asperger syndrome.

Presence and quality of touch influence coregulation in mother-infant dyads

In an experiment using 79 mothers and their infants, all of equal age, researchers tested the differences in allowing and disallowing the mothers to touch their infants during face-to-face communication on coregulation. The results showed that when touch is prohibited, both the mothers and their infants experience more active and less relaxed states of mind. These results were attributed to the notion that when the child sees its mother, but doesn't feel her touch, it becomes restless. The mother, seeing this, feels restless as well and through coregulation, both mother and child experience similar feelings.[2]

Primate communication

Coregulation has also been studied in the context of nonvocal primate communication, as described in the bookThe Dynamic Dance by Barbara King. According to Roles of Feedback and Information in Primate Communication (an article in the American Journal of Primatology), King's work may have implications for a better understanding of the development of human communication, with roots in nonverbal coregulatory interactions between social partners.

External links


  1. ^ Fogel, A., Garvey, A., "Alive Communication", Infant Behavior & Development 30 (2007) 251-257.
  2. ^ Moreno, Amanda J.; Posada, German E., Goldyn, Danielle T. (1 January 2006). "Presence and Quality of Touch Influence Coregulation in Mother-Infant Dyads". Infancy 9 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1207/s15327078in0901_1. Retrieved 26 September 2011.