Coordination Dynamics

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Department of Human Movement Sciences

About Coordination Dynamics

Answering the question

How do patterns of coordinated biological movement and neurophysiological underpinnings develop, persist, and change?

Complex Systems

Biological and non-biological complex systems (i.e., physical and chemical) consist of many interacting parts, providing the capacity of spontaneous pattern formation and self-organization. The development coherent macroscopic patterns is of great strategic and theoretical importance as it allows for studying the corresponding low-dimensional dynamics, without the need to define all the microscopic states of the individual parts. Once the dynamics of macroscopic phenomena have been identified, the contributions of relevant dynamical components to the overall dynamics may be investigated in top-down fashion.

conceptual framework

When applied to real-world phenomena, the theory of dynamical systems provides a conceptual framework for identifying key properties of selected experimental data. The equations of motion provide formal analogies that describe, explain, and predict the activity of the phenomena of interest.


Coordination Dynamics seeks to identify the principles governing coordinated activity at multiple levels of description, and to explicitly address interrelations across levels. The approach demystifies the popular term emergence by showing how interaction among system components can produce coordinated activity.

Coordination Dynamics expands the realm of non-biological complex systems towards intelligent systems. Human motor behavior is not only characterized by self-organization but also by directed or supervised forms of coordination. Those two origins of coordination may be reconciled by showing how meaningful information originates from self-organizing processes and in turn modifies these processes.


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