Chapter 5 Human Mimicry


Journal Article (Review)

Human mimicry is ubiquitous, and often occurs without the awareness of the person mimicking or the person being mimicked. First, we briefly describe some of the major types of nonconscious mimicry-verbal, facial, emotional, and behavioral-and review the evidence for their automaticity. Next, we argue for the broad impact of mimicry and summarize the literature documenting its influence on the mimicry dyad and beyond. This review highlights the moderators of mimicry as well, including the social, motivational, and emotional conditions that foster or inhibit automatic mimicry. We interpret these findings in light of current theories of mimicry. First, we evaluate the evidence for and against mimicry as a communication tool. Second, we review neuropsychological research that sheds light on the question of how we mimic. What is the cognitive architecture that enables us to do what we perceive others do? We discuss a proposed system, the perception-behavior link, and the neurological evidence (i.e., the mirror system) supporting it. We will then review the debate on whether mimicry is innate and inevitable. We propose that the architecture enabling mimicry is innate, but that the behavioral mimicry response may actually be (partly) a product of learning or associations. Finally, we speculate on what the behavioral data on mimicry may imply for the evolution of mimicry. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chartrand, TL; van Baaren, R

Published Date

  • March 13, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 /

Start / End Page

  • 219 - 274

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0065-2601

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0065-2601(08)00405-X

Citation Source

  • Scopus