The Psychology Of Mirroring
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or so the old saying goes! However, whether you think it is complimentary or annoying that someone is dressing, standing or speaking the same as you there is a reason behind it. Scientifically, its called limbic synchrony. From an evolutionary perspective, being in-sync with members of your group was vital for survival. Imitation is present before we are even born babies heartbeats take on the same rhythm as their mothers.
Mirroring is something we do with people we like or are interested in- we copy their body language, speech, facial expression and more. Mirroring body language is a non-verbal way to show empathy. It signals that we are connected to that person in some way. A set of specific nerve cells in the brain called mirror neurons are responsible for mirroring. One common situation occurs when a person laughs. Scientists have found that the brain responds to the sound of laughter and prepares the muscles in the face to also laugh. Other examples of mimicking behaviours include crossing your legs after someone youre sitting next to does so, or yawning after you see someone else yawn. It is a powerful tool that we use automatically without even being aware of it.
Insecurity And Poor Self
Someone who is confident and secure in themselves would never feel the need to copy others. But a lack of self-esteem can ultimately cause someone to try and elevate themselves by copying those they admire.
Mental health issues can also lead to chronic copycat behavior, and the lack of positive thinking exhibited by those with low self-esteem often leads to depression. They think so little of themselves and they want to be anyone else at all, and so they pick you out of all their choices. Its flattering but troubling.
Narcissists Dont Have A Stable Identity
Im not talking about the kind of identity theft in which criminals use your information to open up rogue bank accounts to hurt your credit though narcissists arent above it. They never established a real sense of identity growing up, thanks to the lack of eye contact and human connection in early childhood. They might be literally attempting to adopt your identity.
The Cultural Learning Account
The fourth and final account of imitative function that we will consider is the idea of imitation as a tool for learning and cultural transmission. In this account, the human tendency to imitate plays a vital role in allowing for the vertical transmission of cultural knowledge from one generation to the next . In this account, the human tendency to imitate others plays a key role in the passing down of instrumental skills and social conventions and rituals across the generations of a social group. By doing so, imitation therefore allows for the cumulative cultural development that marks human society out as distinct from that of other animals .
Evidence in favour of the notion that imitation has been selected for highfidelity transmission comes from findings suggesting that both children and adults tend to overimitate the actions of others by imitating steps of an action even when it is clear that those steps are not causally necessary to bring about the goal of the model. This tendency appears to be lacking in other animals, such as chimpanzees tends to increase across development and occurs even when the action is judged as causally irrelevant , suggesting that it is related to the maintenance of social norms rather than a deficiency in the imitator’s ability to causally reason about the actions of the model.
Research On Mimicry And Independent Choice
New research by White and Argo demonstrates what may happen in those types of situations. While an imitated person can feel and behave positively towards the mimicker reactions are often different from consumers who are aware of being copied and feel that their distinctiveness is being compromised.
In a series of experiments, the researchers found that a persons consumption being mimicked by someone similar to them makes it more likely for that person to distance him or herself from a product they already own. But this occurs only when the persons distinctiveness concerns are heightened. More particularly, results showed that:
- Being primed with an independent self-construal was associated with greater disposal intentions among people who felt similar to the person who mimicked them.
- People who noticed that they were being copied were more likely to re-customize the symbolic part of a product bundle if they were people with high “need for uniqueness” and the mimicker was similar to them.
- Being primed with an independent self-construal led to more product disposals among people who put a high degree of effort into acquiring the product.
Bentley, A., Earls, M., & OBrien, M. J. . Ill have what shes having: Mapping social behavior. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. . The chameleon effect: The perception-behavior link and social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 893-910.
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Cause #: A Need For Positive Reinforcement
I recall a particular client who saw email as a great way to communicate his thoughts and accomplishments to his boss and his colleagues.
A really great way. Which meant a lot of emails about his thoughts and accomplishmentsand a lot of people filling up the CC field.
Look, theres nothing wrong with enjoying the positive feelings that result from a job well done. And there is a time and a place for tooting your own horn.
But lengthy autobiographical emails can cause more harm than good, particularly when they get out of hand.
Ive also had clients who were on the receiving end of these kinds of emails. One was in a leadership role and found herself being CC-ed on the majority of emails written by a member of her staff.
This meant that my clients inbox was full of emails that did not require any actions on her part. She became increasingly annoyed with this person on her team.
The motivating factor in both of these cases was a need for positive reinforcement on the part of the sender. People vary in the quantity and quality of the feedback they want to receive from those around them. Its not a weakness to desire reinforcement its a variant in human behavior. But email-related actions still have consequences .
If youre the person who copies others on your emails in anticipation of appreciative replies, then pause and reconsider.
Can you get the feedback you need during regularly scheduled meetings?
Why Is Imitation Important For Language Development
Imitation is a crucial aspect of skill development, because it allows us to learn new things quickly and efficiently by watching those around us. Most children learn everything from gross motor movements, to speech, to interactive play skills by watching parents, caregivers, siblings, and peers perform these behaviors.
How Do Humans Use Mimicry
Mimicry has evolved in the context of social interactions and serves an important social function. Recent experimental research has shown that people unconsciously mimic more when they have a goal to affiliate with others. Thus, if they want another person to like them, they start to mimic the other person more.
Investigation Of Anticipated Action And Mimicry
In a first step, we tested the experimental hypothesis that the nose wrinkling video and the nose touching video increase participants number of nose touching actions by running a one-factorial ANOVA. The analysis revealed a significant effect of video type on participants nose touching actions, F = 10.86, p< 0.001, p2 = .12 . Consistent with the predictions, planned comparisons revealed that participants engaged in more nose touching per minute when observing the model engaging in nose wrinkling than when observing the model reading the story in a neutral way , t = 2.86, p = .005, dz = .33, providing evidence for anticipated action. In terms of mimicry, we found that participants engaged in more nose touching per minute when observing the model touching the nose than when observing the model reading the story in a neutral fashion , t = 4.19, p< .001, dz = .48, indicating a mimicry effect.
Amount of executed nose touching actions per minute as a function of observed video.
Error bars represent standard errors.
In a third step, we tested whether the baseline corrected anticipated action effect and the baseline corrected mimicry effect are correlated. The analysis yielded a positive correlation, r = .50, p< .001, indicating that the more individuals anticipate another persons action, the more they mimic this person.
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Try Mirroring Their Behaviour
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It’s hard to say exactly why you like someone. Maybe it’s their goofy smile maybe it’s their razor-sharp wit or maybe it’s simply that they’re easy to be around. You just like them.
But scientists generally aren’t satisfied with answers like that, and they’ve spent years trying to pinpoint the exact factors that draw one person to another.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of their most intriguing findings. Read on for insights that will cast your current friendships in a new light and will help you form better relationships, faster.
1. Copy the person you’re with
This strategy is called mirroring, and involves subtly mimicking another person’s behavior. When talking to someone, try copying their body language, gestures, and facial expressions.
In 1999, New York University researchers documented the “chameleon effect,” which occurs when people unconsciously mimic each other’s behavior. That mimicry facilitates liking.
Researchers had 72 men and women work on a task with a partner. The partners either mimicked the other participant’s behavior or didn’t, while researchers videotaped the interactions. At the end of the interaction, the researchers had participants indicate how much they liked their partners.
Sure enough, participants were more likely to say that they liked their partner when their partner had been mimicking their behavior.
2. Spend more time around the people you’re hoping to befriend
Why People Try To Seem Better Than Others And What Drives Their Striving
You know youre in the presence of people trying to show how important they are by the way they make you feel inferior. For reasons you cant quite explain, you look at yourself more critically when youre in their presence and may start to wonder why youre such a failure. Its a relief to get away from them, so you can relax and be yourself.
But people who feel inferior will often puff themselves up on a pedestal to alleviate their own sense of weakness. The Viennese psychoanalyst Alfred Adler was one of the first theorists to address such individuals by defining the quality of striving for superiority. Adler, who also coined the term inferiority complex, believed that people who were convinced of their own weaknesses would build an outward shell in which they went through unusual efforts to present themselves in the most favorable possible light, in order to avoid confronting their own weak and wobbly interiors.
Anadolu Universitys Ramazan Akdoan explored the ways in which inferiority, as defined in terms of both Adlers theory and the attachment theory of John Bowlby, would predispose individuals to feelings of loneliness. You can imagine that a person constantly needing to feel self-important would have difficulty confiding in others. To show their weakness would threaten their fragile sense of self, so rather than let others in, they create a shell around themselves that they rarely let others penetrate.
Facebook image: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock
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Bringing New Awareness To Email Behavior
As you start to become more mindful of how you CC others, you may begin to notice your own habits and patterns. Use this as an opportunity to discover more about yourself.
With greater awareness, you may uncover insights that you can use to CC less and streamline and improve your work communication across the board.
Learning Different Types Of Sensorimotor Contingencies
The core claim of the ASL account is that people learn imitation in the same way that they learn other SMCs, that is, via a generic associative learning mechanism. There are infinitely many SMCs that an infant could potentially learn, but in practice, he or she learns a subset of this vast space. The constraints imposed by the social and sensorimotor environment play a key role in defining this space. Here, we attempt to explore the space of possible SMCs and consider what might define which ones are learned. Having a clear understanding of the landscape of SMCs will help us consider, in the next section, whether imitative SMCs have a unique place in this landscape and thus could have a unique function.
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Where Does Imitation Come From
A heated debate concerning the origins of imitation behaviour and the underlying neural mechanisms of imitation has taken place over the last 20 or more years. At the core of this debate is the socalled correspondence problemthe problem of matching observed actions in a visual format to performed actions in a motor format in order to perform an imitative action . In recent years, the debate about the origin of imitation has been closely linked to the question of the origin of the mirror neurons. These neurons were first found in the macaque premotor and parietal cortices , but neuroimaging studies have demonstrated similar activations in humans . The key property of mirror neurons is that they fire both when an individual performs a specific action and when that individual observes that action being performed by another. Thus, they are widely accepted to be a suitable neural mechanism for solving the correspondence problem. The questions Where does imitation come from? and Where do mirror neurons come from? are likely to have closely related answers. In this section, we will briefly outline a number of positions on the origin of mirror neurons, including strong nativist and empiricist accounts as well as hybrid theories of mirror neuron development, which assign a role to both genes and experience.
What Is The Importance Of Psychology In Our Daily Life
Essentially, psychology helps people in large part because it can explain why people act the way they do. With this kind of professional insight, a psychologist can help people improve their decision making, stress management and behavior based on understanding past behavior to better predict future behavior.
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How Do I Protect My Idea Without A Patent
If you determine that the invention is probably not patentable, the most effective way to protect yourself is to have prospective licensees sign a nondisclosure agreement before you reveal your invention. This document is sometimes called an “NDA” or a “confidentiality agreement,” but the terms are similar.
Mirroring As A Sign Of Trust
When you are out with family or a group of friends at a restaurant it is common for each person to ask what the other is ordering. They ask this before the person orders as they try to mirror their meals. Another common thing you may observe is couples walking in step. In these cases imitating someone is a sign of comfort and trust and it shows that people are in sync.
The whole point of mirroring is that its a way to better understand others and connect with them. Being able to mirror someone is the same as being able to listen to someone. The next time you are somewhere where there is a lot of human interaction, notice the number of people who are mimicking the gestures and posture of the person theyre talking to. You will be astounded!
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Viewing Imitation As Flattery
Conform To The Social Norm: Why People Follow What Other People Do
Why do people tend to do what others do, prefer what others prefer, and choose what others choose?
Our study, published today in Nature Human Behaviour, shows that people tend to copy other peoples choices, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not reflect their own actual preferences.
It is well established that people tend to conform to behaviours that are common among other people. These are known as social norms.
Yet our finding that people conform to others choices that they know are completely arbitrary cannot be explained by most theories of this social norm effect. As such, it sheds new light on why people conform to social norms.
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