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

Behavioural mimicry can increase liking, but can it be overdone?

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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This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

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, 2013) and several ebooks.