Interpersonal Mimicry: The Chameleon Effect. Lecture 6: Interpersonal Mimicry. Iacoboni, M. (2009). Imitation, empathy, and mirror neurons. Annual Review of Psychology , 60 , 653-670.
Iacoboni, M. (2009). Imitation, empathy, and mirror neurons. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 653-670.
Lakin, J.L., Jefferis, V.E., Cheng, C.M., & Chartrand, T.L. (2003). The chameleon effect as social glue: Evidence for the evolutionary significance of nonconscious mimicry. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 27, 145-162.
Why do we seek to form connections with others?
What makes a social exchange successful?
food, mates, predators, shelter, offspring
“it might be easier to affiliate with group members if a repertoire of nonverbal behaviors exists and can be utilized for this purpose without excessive planning or thought.”
Lakin et al. (2003, pp. 146-147)
½ - confederate shook her foot
½ - confederate touched her face
mimicked the specific mannerisms of their
interaction partner (but without awareness
of having done so)
“I like you!”
‘personal’ (relationship with parents)
‘impersonal’ (university major).
repeated the order (verbal mimicry)
mere understanding (control)
“the belongingness hypothesis is that human being have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships.”
(1995, p. 497)
conscious vs. non-conscious
conscious goal (co-operate, get along)
non-conscious goal (subliminal priming –
affiliate, friend, together)
no goal (control)
Are some people more prone to mimicry than others?
Are there important cultural differences in mimicry?
Do particular life experiences influence the tendency to imitate?
viewpoint of others – basic component of
empathy – Davis, 1983).
independent or interdependent?
increased conformity (Williams et al., 2000)
enhanced cooperation (Ouwerkerk et al., 2005)
attention to detail (Pickett & Gardner, 2005)
covert attempts at affiliation (low cost)
renewed rejection unlikely
motor approach (Hommel & Prinz, 1997)
ideomotor approach (James, 1890)
perception and action - independent
common representational format (perception/Action)
seeing and doing
sensory-motor approach (matching = mismatching)
ideomotor approach (matching < mismatching)
first observed in the ventral premotor area F5 of
macaque monkeys, mirror neurons increase their
rate of firing when the animal performs a goal-
directed action (e.g., grasping an object) and when the animal watches someone else perform the action (Rizzolati et al., 1996).
Strictly Congruent Mirror Neurons (1/3)
neurons that fire during the observation of exactly the same action they code motorically.
Broadly Congruent Mirror Neurons (2/3)
neurons that fire during the observation of an action achieving the same goal or logically related to the action they code.
Thus, mirror neurons provide the encoding flexibility that social interaction demands (performance of coordinated, cooperative and complimentary behaviours - not simply imitation)
mirror neurons do not fire when either the object or hand are presented in isolation (Rizzolatti et al., 1996)
mirror neurons continue to fire when the completion of actions is occluded (Umilta et al., 2001).
Mirror neurons fire to the sound of an action (Keysers et al., 2002) - coding intentions?
functional significance of mirror neurons
problem of other minds
argument from analogy
knowing me, knowing you
mapping self (body & mind) to understand others
mirror neurons and imitation
theory of mind (empathy, person understanding)
Things Worth Knowing
Process and consequences of imitation.
Role of mirror neurons in person perception.
1. The Self.