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Fellow Markus Koppensteiner investigates how people associate simple body motion cues with social categories. In the article "Create your own stimulus: Manipulating movements according to social categories", he presents his findings that certain motion cues can convey social information even when only an animated dot and no body form is visible. It was published this week in PLoS ONE.
"People ascribe purposeful behaviour to the movements of artificial objects and social qualities to human body motion. We investigated how people associate simple motion cues with social categories. For a first rating-experiment we converted the body movements of speakers into stick-figure animations; for a second rating-experiment we used animations of one single dot. Rating-experiments were “reversed” because we asked participants to alter the movements (i.e., vertical amplitude, horizontal amplitude, and velocity) of the stimuli according to different instructions (e.g., create a stimulus of high dominance). Participants equipped stick figures and dot animations with expansive movements to represent high dominance. Expansive and fast movements (i.e., high velocity) were mainly associated with high aggressiveness. Fast movements were also associated with low friendliness, low trustworthiness, and low competence. Overall, patterns found for stick figure and dot animations were similar indicating that certain motion cues convey social information even when only a dot and no body form is visible. The “reverse approach” we propose here makes the impact of different components directly observable. The data generated by this method offers better insights into the interplay of these components and the ways in which they form meaningful patterns. The proposed method can be extended to other types of nonverbal cues and a variety of social categories."
Koppensteiner M, Primes G, Stephan P (2017) Create your own stimulus: Manipulating movements according to social categories. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0174422. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0174422
Examples for the motion manipulations participants performed during the experiments.
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