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Photo of Demos, Alexander P.

Alexander P. Demos, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor

Statistics, Methods, and Measurement Core; Brain and Cognitive Science; Social & Personality

Department of Psychology


Building & Room:

1018A BSB


1007 W Harrison Street

Office Phone:

(312) 996-4459

CV Download:

Demos CV 2-4-23


Whether it be a conversation, music performance, or simply moving a couch, the coordination of joint action requires people to anticipate and adapt to each other. We often take these abilities for granted, but we also marvel when they are highly developed. For example, rowers at the Head of Charles seamlessly move across the water, and drummers stay coordinated even while phase-shifting during Reich's drumming music. We are also acutely aware of the absence of coordinated joint action. Cutting someone off in a conversation, desynchronizing from a partner on stage, or pushing when you should pull, has social, professional, and physical consequences. For individuals with timing issues “dancing out of step” is a part of daily life.

I take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding joint action, pulling from theories of cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, music psychology, and motor control. I use behavioral, sensory, and electrophysiological measures to study music and social coordination in shared auditory and visual tasks and, more recently, large-scale naturalistic data from smartphones. I couple this with the development of novel dependent measures, advanced statistical methods of analysis, and computational modeling techniques developed for the analysis of complex systems. By merging these theoretical and methodological techniques to understand coordinated action, I investigate both how people communicate and the disorders that impede communication.

My work often involves quasi-periodic or semi-deterministic time-series data. This usually restricts the use of classical methods assessing power, significance, and effect size. Thus, my work requires the development of custom analysis pipelines, complex programming, and adapting tools for applied mathematics and signal processing. To ensure replicability of my work, I adapt and develop measures of chance and confidence intervals from domains of signal processing and applied mathematics (such as surrogate methods).

I share my graduate statistics and methods lectures creating in R markdown on another webpage for ANOVA, Regression, and Mixed-Effect models. I created an online open-access R textbook with my graduate students.

Selected Grants

Spencer Foundation, The interaction of racial equity and timeseries methods, Co-PI

NIH MH R01: 1R01MH120168, Unobtrusive monitoring of affective symptoms and cognition using keyboard dynamics., Co-I

NIH NIA R01 R01AG070956, Identifying digital phenotypes of risk for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias among Hispanics/Latinos, Co-I

Supplement to NIMHD R01: 3R01MD013502-03S1, Mechanisms of Disparities in Adverse Neurocognitive Outcomes among Hispanics Aging with HIV, Co-I

NIH NEI R01: 5R01EY028266, Directly testing the magnocellular theory of dyslexia, Consultant

NIH/NIDCD R03: 1R03HD104051, Neurobiology of Reading Compensation, Consultant

Selected Publications

Palmer, C. & Demos, A.P. (2022). Are we in time? How predictive coding and dynamical systems explain human synchrony. Current Directions in Psychology, 31(2), pp.147-153,

Demos, A.P., Lisboa, T., Begosh, K., Logan, T., & Chaffin, R. (2020). A longitudinal study of the development of expressive timing.  Psychology of Music, 48, 50-66. doi:10.1177/0305735618783563.

Demos, A.P., Layeghi, H., Wanderley, M.M., & Palmer, C. (2019). Staying together:  A bidirectional delay-coupled approach to joint action. Cognitive Science, 43(8), e12766. doi:10.1111/cogs.12766

Demos, A.P., & Chaffin, R. (2018). How Music Moves Us: Entraining to musicians’ movements. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 35(4), 405-424. doi:10.1525/mp.2018.35.4.405

Demos, A.P., Carter, D.J., Wanderley, M.M., & Palmer, C (2017). The unresponsive partner: Roles of social status, auditory feedback, and animacy in coordination of joint music performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 149(8).  doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00149

Publication Aggregators


Post-Doctoral Fellowship, McGill University, 2015
PhD, University of Connecticut; Storrs, CT, 2013
MA, New York University; New York, NY, 2006
BA, New York University; New York, NY, 2003

Professional Memberships