Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

I Can, Automatically, Become Just Like You

Date:
August 8, 2008
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
No one likes to be excluded from a group: exclusion can decrease mood, reduce self-esteem and feelings of belonging, and even ultimately lead to negative behavior (e.g., the shootings at Virginia Tech). As a result, we often try to fit in with others in both conscious and automatic ways. Psychologists studied people's tendency to copy automatically the behaviors of others in order to find out how this mimicry can be used as an affiliation strategy.

No one likes to be excluded from a group: exclusion can decrease mood, reduce self-esteem and feelings of belonging, and even ultimately lead to negative behavior (e.g., the shootings at Virginia Tech). As a result, we often try to fit in with others in both conscious and automatic ways.

Related Articles


Psychologists Jessica L. Lakin of Drew University, Tanya L. Chartrand of Duke University, and Robert M. Arkin of The Ohio State University studied people’s tendency to copy automatically the behaviors of others in order to find out how this mimicry can be used as an affiliation strategy.

In one experiment, participants played an online ball-tossing game with three other computer players, and were either excluded or included in the game. After reporting their enjoyment of the game and what they thought of the other players, participants were asked to describe a photograph to a female confederate who constantly moved her foot, but not enough so that it was consciously noticed by the participant. The researchers hypothesized that participants in the excluded condition would move their foot more to match the confederate.

In the next experiment, the procedure was kept mostly the same. This time, however, all of the participants were female. They were excluded from either a group of males or females during the ball-tossing game and interacted with either a male or female confederate during the photo description task. Participants were also questioned more thoroughly on how they felt after the game, such as how much they felt they belonged to the group. The researchers predicted that if the female participants were ostracized by females and later interacted with a female confederate, then they would mimic the confederate more than other participants.

The results, appearing in the August issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, provided strong support for the researchers’ hypotheses. In the first experiment, participants who had been excluded from the game mimicked the confederate during the second task more than other participants. In the second experiment, participants excluded by members of their own sex mimicked a confederate of the same sex more than participants in other conditions. There was also an inverse relationship between feelings of belonging and nonconscious mimicry.

The study suggests that although nonconscious mimicry is an automatic action, it is still influenced by a variety of factors, such as situation and the target of the affiliation.

“People whose need to belong is threatened do not necessarily mimic the first person they see; they take into account aspects of the situation and act accordingly, all unconsciously,” the authors conclude. “Conceptualized this way, automatic mimicry is certainly is a useful addition to the human behavioral repertoire.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "I Can, Automatically, Become Just Like You." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806122420.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2008, August 8). I Can, Automatically, Become Just Like You. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806122420.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "I Can, Automatically, Become Just Like You." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806122420.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins