The body speaks: Using the mirror game to link attachment and non-verbal behavior

Rinat Feniger-Schaal*, Yuval Hart, Nava Lotan, Nina Koren-Karie, Lior Noy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The Mirror Game (MG) is a common exercise in dance/movement therapy and drama therapy. It is used to promote participants' ability to enter and remain in a state of togetherness. In spite of the wide use of the MG by practitioners, it is only recently that scientists begun to use the MG in research, examining its correlates, validity, and reliability. This study joins this effort by reporting on the identification of scale items to describe the non-verbal behavior expressed during the MG and its correlation to measures of attachment. Thus, we explored the application of the MG as a tool for assessing the embodiment of attachment in adulthood. Forty-eight participants (22 females, mean age = 33.2) played the MG with the same gender-matched expert players. All MG were videotaped. In addition, participants were evaluated on two central measurements of attachment in adulthood: The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) and the Experience in Close Relationship questionnaire (ECR). To analyze the data, we developed the "MG scale" that coded the non-verbal behavior during the movement interaction, using 19 parameters. The sub-scales were reduced using factor analysis into two dimensions referred to as "together" and "free." The free factor was significantly correlated to both measurements of attachment: Participants classified as having secure attachment on the AAI, received higher scores on the MG free factor than participants classified as insecure [t(46) = 7.858, p = 0.000]. Participants, who were high on the avoidance dimension on the ECR, were low on the MG free factor [r(48) = -0.285, p = 0.007]. This is the first study to examine the MG as it is used by practitioners and its correlation to highly standardized measures. This exploratory study may be considered as part of the first steps of exploring the MG as a standardized assessment tool. The advantages of the MG as a simple, non-verbal movement interaction demonstrate some of the strengths of dance/movement and drama therapy practice.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1560
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Feniger-Schaal, Hart, Lotan, Koren-Karie and Noy.


  • Attachment
  • Dance/movement therapy
  • Drama therapy
  • Exploration
  • Mirror game
  • Non-verbal behavior


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