Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mimicry Enhances Social Bonding

Researchers have found that immediate social bonding between strangers is highly dependent on mimicry, a synchronized and usually unconscious give and take of words and gestures that creates a current of good will between two people.
I think I've seen this happen with corporate jargon, where one person starts using (or, often as not, mis-using) a word or expression, and it spreads, becoming very common for a period of weeks or maybe a few months, before running its course.

1 comment:

  1. Haven't you ever noticed that, in any given meeting, you'll see synchronized positioning of the attendees--if one person puts their hands behind their heads or another folds their arms in front of them, others may follow suit. This mimicry can be an indicator of agreement between those people.

    You should read about NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). I find NLP somewhat fascinating, although it is (very much) a "soft" science. There are certainly some truths in NLP, but its supporters (including people trying to make money off of it) often over-hype them.

    An example of the (supposed) effects of NLP can be found in this video from a British TV show: