Can You Copy Other People’s Body Language Too Much?

Post image for Can You Copy Other People’s Body Language Too Much?
Behavioural mimicry can increase liking, but can it be overdone?

Yes.

According to Leander et al. (2012):

“In three studies, we found that people literally feel colder in response to inappropriate amounts of behavioral mimicry”

That’s because:

“There exist implicit standards for how much nonverbal behavioral mimicry is appropriate in various types of social interactions”

So, how much is too much?

“Our results also highlight the importance of (implicitly) knowing when to mimic other people and when it is okay to be mimicked by them…”

In other words: it depends on the situation and you have to trust your instincts, but be aware that blanket mirroring of other people’s body language can come across as plain weird. People who mimic body language indiscriminately literally give us chills.

Image credit: Chuck Olsen

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About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 8 June 2012

Text: © All rights reserved.

Images: Creative Commons License