In 1944, Heider and Simmel reported that observers could perceive simple animated geometric shapes as characters with emotions, intentions, and other social attributes. This work has been cited over 3,000 times and has had wide and ongoing influence on the study of social cognition and social intelligence. However, many researchers in this area have continued to use the original Heider and Simmel black-and-white video. We asked whether the original findings could be reproduced 75 years later by creating 32 new colored animated shape videos designed to depict various social plots and testing whether they can evoke similar spontaneous social attributions. Participants (N = 66) viewed our videos and were asked to write narratives which we coded for indicia of different types of social attributions. Consistent with Heider and Simmel, we found that participants spontaneously attributed social meaning to the videos. We observed that responses to our videos were also similar to responses to the original video reported by Klin (2000), despite being only 13-23 s and portraying a broader range of social plots. Participants varied in how many social attributions they made in response, and the videos varied in how much they elicited such responses. Our set of animated shape videos is freely available online for all researchers to use and forms the basis of a multiple-choice assessment of social intelligence (Brown et al., 2019).

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