Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Joanna Schug

Committee Member

Catherine Forestell

Committee Member

Dimitrios Skordos

Abstract

Synchrony, the act of doing behaviors or motions in strict unison, is shown in a number of studies to have several positive benefits, such as increasing rapport and identity. In Western cultures, synchrony has been shown to lead to group formation and identification. We hypothesized that the tendency for synchrony to increase trust and cooperation within a newly formed group would be limited to societies with high levels of relational mobility, where it is easy to form new relationships and group memberships. We examined this hypothesis by contrasting a high mobility culture, the United States, with a low mobility culture, Japan. Study 1 investigates whether synchronous movement increases trust and reciprocity and how this might varies across cultures, finding that the effect of synchrony on trust was greater in the United States than in Japan. Study 2 addressed limitations of Study 1, by directly examining the effect of relational mobility. Thus, Study 2 examined whether relational mobility could account for cultural differences in the impact of synchrony on cooperation with the group. The results of Study 2 found that that cooperation in the synchrony condition was related to relational mobility, and that cultural differences in this condition could be explained by relational mobility. We discuss directions for future research on the impact of synchronous behavior on trust and cooperation.

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