Movement synchrony and perceived entitativity
Movement synchrony has been theoretically linked to the emergence of a social unit. To empirically investigate whether similar movement rhythms are an antecedent of perceived entitativity, movement rhythms were experimentally manipulated in four studies. Using this novel approach, stick figures waving in synchrony were found to be rated higher on entitativity than stick figures waving in different rhythms (Study 1), and this effect was extended to interactional synchrony, where different movements are performed in the same rhythm (Study 2). Objective differences in movement rhythms are linearly related to ratings of perceived entitativity, and this relationship is partially mediated by the subjectively perceived similarity of movement rhythms (Study 3). These results also held for entitativity judgments for videotaped individuals waving rhythmically (Study 4). These results support the hypothesis that movement rhythms are an important source of information which observers use to infer the extent to which individuals are a social unit.