Behavioral Contagion


Behavioral contagion is the tendency for people to repeat behavior after others have performed it. People very often do what others do. Sometimes we choose to imitate others, for example, by wearing the same type of clothes as our friends. Most of the time, however, we are not aware of the fact that we copy behavior. Research shows that humans nonconsciously imitate a lot of behaviors. Examples are speech variables such as syntax, accents, speech rate, pauses, tone of voice and behavioral variables such as gestures, mannerisms, postures. Furthermore, we take over each other's facial expressions, moods, and emotions. Other well-known examples are laughter and yawning.


Why do we imitate? Whereas behavioral synchrony in many species of animals promotes safety (think of schools of fish or ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles