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Mimicry

Mimicry refers to the unconscious and unintentional imitation of other people's accents, speech patterns, postures, gestures, mannerisms, moods, and emotions. Examples of mimicry include picking up regional accents or expressions when on vacation, or shaking one's leg upon observing another person's leg shaking.

Background

In the 1970s and 1980s, research on mimicry focused on exploring the relationship between behavioral mimicry (i.e., shared motor movements) and rapport between interaction partners. The two were found to be positively correlated. For example, counselors who mimic the postures of their clients are perceived by their clients to be more empathetic, warm, genuine, with more expertise; mothers and babies who share motor movements have more rapport; and classrooms characterized by high teacher–student rapport have more shared movements.

By the 1990s, researchers agreed that ...

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