Mind your mannerisms: Behavioral mimicry elicits stereotype conformity
Four studies demonstrate that the affiliative responding that is typically encouraged by mimicry can be manifested in conformity to shared gender and racial stereotypes. In Studies 1 and 2, mimicry by a confederate led participants to perform in accordance with stereotypes about their race and gender on a math task. Studies 3 and 4 tested the boundary conditions of mimicry's influence: in Study 3, mimicry elicited stereotype-consistent math performance only among participants who believed in stereotypes about their group that could drive others' expectancies. Study 4 established that the mimicry must occur in the context of affiliation for it to elicit stereotype-consistent behavior, highlighting the important moderating role of affiliation motivation in this phenomenon. In sum, these findings suggest that mimicked individuals are more conforming to the stereotyped expectancies that they believe others hold for them, which suggests not only a potential negative consequence of mimicry but also a subtle manner through which stereotypes may be perpetuated. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Leander, NP; Chartrand, TL; Wood, W
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