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.

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 April 16, 2014 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 April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. 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:
from the past week

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