Observational and accelerometer analysis of head movement patterns in psychotherapeutic dialogue

Masashi Inoue*, Toshio Irino, Nobuhiro Furuyama, Ryoko Hanada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Psychotherapists, who use their communicative skills to assist people, review their dialogue practices and improve their skills from their experiences. However, technology has not been fully exploited for this purpose. In this study, we analyze the use of head movements during actual psychotherapeutic dialogues between two participants—therapist and client—using video recordings and head-mounted accelerometers. Accelerometers have been utilized in the mental health domain but not for analyzing mental health related communications. We examined the relationship between the state of the interaction and temporally varying head nod and movement patterns in psychological counseling sessions. Head nods were manually annotated and the head movements were measured using accelerometers. Head nod counts were analyzed based on annotations taken from video data. We conducted cross-correlation analysis of the head movements of the two participants using the accelerometer data. The results of two case studies suggest that upward and downward head nod count patterns may reflect stage transitions in counseling dialogues and that peaks of head movement synchrony may be related to emphasis in the interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3162
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 1


  • Case study
  • Dialogue progression
  • Face-to-face counsel-ing
  • Head movement
  • Head nod
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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