Social cues for creativity: The impact of behavioral mimicry on convergent and divergent thinking


Journal Article

We present behavioral mimicry as a social cue for creative thinking. Specifically, we argue that being mimicked by an interaction partner cues convergent thinking by signalling a social opportunity for collaboration, while not being mimicked cues divergent thinking by signalling a social demand for improvisation and innovation. To test this theory, we experimentally manipulated whether individuals were subtly mimicked or not by an experimenter during a 5 min social interaction, and subsequently measured participants' capacity for convergent thinking (Experiment 1) and divergent thinking (Experiment 2). The results point to the importance of understanding how social relationships influence the creative processes and contributes to the growing understanding of the social function of behavioral mimicry. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ashton-James, CE; Chartrand, TL

Published Date

  • July 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1036 - 1040

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0465

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.04.030

Citation Source

  • Scopus