A case of hand waving: Action synchrony and person perception

C. Neil Macrae, Oonagh K. Duffy, Lynden K. Miles, Julie Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


While previous research has demonstrated that people's movements can become coordinated during social interaction. little is known about the cognitive consequences of behavioral synchrony. Given intimate links between the systems that regulate perception and action, we hypothesized that the synchronization of movements during a dyadic interaction may prompt increased attention to be directed to an interaction partner, hence facilitate the information that participants glean during a social exchange. Our results supported this prediction. Incidental memories for core aspects of a brief interaction were facilitated following in-phase behavioral synchrony. Specifically, participants demonstrated enhanced memory for an interaction partner's utterances and facial appearance. These findings underscore the importance of action perception to social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-156
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Early online date27 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • action
  • synchrony
  • entrainment
  • imitation
  • social cognition
  • interpersonal coordination
  • phase-transitions
  • gaze direction
  • behavior
  • recognition
  • movements
  • mimicry
  • rapport
  • others
  • memory


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