According to Leander et al. (2012):
“In three studies, we found that people literally feel colder in response to inappropriate amounts of behavioral mimicry”
“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.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Chuck Olsen