Contingency and contiguity of imitative behaviour affect social affiliation

  • David Dignath
  • Paul Lotze-Hermes
  • Harry Farmer
  • Roland Pfister
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00426-017-0854-x

Cite this article as:
Dignath, D., Lotze-Hermes, P., Farmer, H. et al. Psychological Research (2017). doi:10.1007/s00426-017-0854-x

Abstract

Actions of others automatically prime similar responses in an agent’s behavioural repertoire. As a consequence, perceived or anticipated imitation facilitates own action control and, at the same time, imitation boosts social affiliation and rapport with others. It has previously been suggested that basic mechanisms of associative learning can account for behavioural effects of imitation, whereas a possible role of associative learning for affiliative processes is poorly understood at present. Therefore, this study examined whether contingency and contiguity, the principles of associative learning, affect also the social effects of imitation. Two experiments yielded evidence in favour of this hypothesis by showing more social affiliation in conditions with high contingency (as compared to low contingency) and in conditions of high contiguity (compared to low contiguity).

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • PF 853/2-1

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Dignath
    • 1
  • Paul Lotze-Hermes
    • 2
  • Harry Farmer
    • 3
  • Roland Pfister
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.University of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  3. 3.University College LondonLondonUK

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