Contingency and contiguity of imitative behaviour affect social affiliation

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

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).

References

  1. Adank, P., Stewart, A.J., Connell, L., & Wood, J. (2013). Accent imitation positively affects language attitudes. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 280.Google Scholar
  2. Aron, A., & Aron, E. N. (1986). Love and the expansion of self: Understanding attraction and satisfaction. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  3. Bach, P., & Tipper, S. P. (2007). Implicit action encoding influences personal-trait judgments. Cognition, 102(2), 151–178.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailenson, J.N., Beall, A.C., Loomis, J., Blascovich, J., & Turk, M. (2004). Transformed social interaction: decoupling representation from behavior and form in collaborative virtual environments. Presence, 13(4), 428–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bailenson, J.N., & Yee, N. (2005). Digital Chameleons. Psychological Science, 16(10), 814–819.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bailenson, J.N., Yee, N., Patel, K., & Beall, A.C. (2008). Detecting digital chameleons. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(1), 66–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brass, M., Bekkering, H., Wohlschläger, A., & Prinz, W. (2000). Compatibility between observed and executed finger movements: comparing symbolic, spatial, and imitative cues. Brain and Cognition, 44(2), 124–143.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Brass, M., & Heyes, C. (2005). Imitation: is cognitive neuroscience solving the correspondence problem? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(10), 489–495.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Catmur, C., Gillmeister, H., Bird, G., Liepelt, R., Brass, M., & Heyes, C. (2008). Through the looking glass: counter-mirror activation following incompatible sensorimotor learning. European Journal of Neuroscience, 28(6), 1208–1215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Catmur, C., & Heyes, C. (2013). Is It What You Do, or When You Do It? The roles of contingency and similarity in pro-social effects of imitation. Cognitive Science, 37(8), 1541–1552.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Catmur, C., Walsh, V., & Heyes, C. (2009). Associative sequence learning: the role of experience in the development of imitation and the mirror system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 364(1528), 2369–2380.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Catmur, C. (2017). Automatic imitation? Imitative compatibility affects responses at high perceptual load. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (in press).Google Scholar
  13. Chartrand, T.L., & Bargh, J.A. (1999). The chameleon effect: the perception–behavior link and social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(6), 893–910.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Chartrand, T.L., & Lakin, J.L. (2013). The antecedents and consequences of human behavioral mimicry. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 285–308.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Cook, J. L., & Bird, G. (2012). Atypical social modulation of imitation in autism spectrum conditions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(6), 1045–10511Google Scholar
  16. Cook, R., Press, C., Dickinson, A., & Heyes, C. (2010). Acquisition of automatic imitation is sensitive to sensorimotor contingency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36(4), 840–852.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. De Coster, L., Verschuere, B., Goubert, L., Tsakiris, M., & Brass, M. (2013). I suffer more from your pain when you act like me: being imitated enhances affective responses to seeing someone else in pain. Cognitive Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 13(3), 519–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dignath, D., & Eder, A.B. (2013). Recall of observed actions modulates the end-state comfort effect just like recall of one’s own actions. Experimental Brain Research, 231(1), 75–83.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Dignath, D., Pfister, R., Eder, A.B., Kiesel, A., & Kunde, W. (2014). Representing the hyphen in action–effect associations: automatic acquisition and bidirectional retrieval of action–effect intervals. Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition 40(6), 1701–1712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eitam, B., Kennedy, P.M., & Higgins, E.T. (2013). Motivation from control. Experimental Brain Research, 229(3), 475–484.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Elsner, B., & Hommel, B. (2001). Effect anticipation and action control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 27(1), 229–240.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Genschow, O., & Brass, M. (2015). The predictive chameleon: evidence for anticipated social action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41(2), 265–268.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Gillmeister, H., Catmur, C., Liepelt, R., Brass, M., & Heyes, C. (2008). Experience-based priming of body parts: a study of action imitation. Brain Research, 1217, 157–170.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Hajcak, G., & Foti, D. (2008). Errors are aversive defensive motivation and the error-related negativity. Psychological Science, 19(2), 103–108.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hale, J., & Hamilton, A.F. (2016). Cognitive mechanisms for responding to mimicry from others. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 63, 106–123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hasler, B. S., Hirschberger, G., Shani-Sherman, T., & Friedman, D. A. (2014). Virtual peacemakers: Mimicry increases empathy in simulated contact with virtual outgroup members. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17(12), 766–771.Google Scholar
  27. Hayes, A.E., Paul, M.A., Beuger, B., & Tipper, S.P. (2008). Self produced and observed actions influence emotion: the roles of action fluency and eye gaze. Psychological Research Psychologische Forschung, 72(4), 461–472.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Heyes, C. (2001). Causes and consequences of imitation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5(6), 253–261.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Heyes, C. (2011). Automatic imitation. Psychological Bulletin, 137(3), 463.Google Scholar
  30. Heyes, C. (2016). Homo imitans? Seven reasons why imitation couldn’t possibly be associative. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 371, 20150069.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Heyes, C., Bird, G., Johnson, H., & Haggard, P. (2005). Experience modulates automatic imitation. Cognitive Brain Research, 22(2), 233–240.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Heyes, C. (2012). Imitation: associative and context Dependent. In W. Prinz, M. Beisert, A. Herwig (Eds.), Tutorials in action science. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Inzlicht, M., Gutsell, J.N., & Legault, L. (2012). Mimicry reduces racial prejudice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 361–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jansson, E., Wilson, A.D., Williams, J.H., & Mon-Williams, M. (2007). Methodological problems undermine tests of the ideo-motor conjecture. Experimental Brain Research, 182(4), 549–558.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Kilner, J., Hamilton, A.F., de, C., & Blakemore, S.-J. (2007). Interference effect of observed human movement on action is due to velocity profile of biological motion. Social Neuroscience, 2(3–4), 158–166.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Kulesza, W., Szypowska, Z., Jarman, M.S., & Dolinski, D. (2014). Attractive chameleons sell: the mimicry-attractiveness link. Psychology and Marketing, 31(7), 549–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lakens, D., & Stel, M. (2011). If they move in sync, they must feel in sync: Movement synchrony leads to attributions of rapport and entitativity. Social Cognition, 29(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lakin, J.L., & Chartrand, T.L. (2003). Using nonconscious behavioral mimicry to create affiliation and rapport. Psychological Science, 14(4), 334–339.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Leighton, J., Bird, G., Orsini, C., & Heyes, C. (2010). Social attitudes modulate automatic imitation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(6), 905–910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Logan, F.A. (1965). Decision making by rats: uncertain outcome choices. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 59(2), 246–251.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Meltzoff, A.N., & Moore, M.K. (1997). Explaining facial imitation: a theoretical model. Early Development and Parenting, 6(3–4), 179–192.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Meltzoff, A.N., Moore, M.K., & others (1977). Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates. Science, 198(4312), 75–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Müller, R. (2016). Does the anticipation of compatible partner reactions facilitate action planning in joint tasks? Psychological Research Psychologische Forschung, 80(4), 464–486.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Oppenheimer, D.M., Meyvis, T., & Davidenko, N. (2009). Instructional manipulation checks: detecting satisficing to increase statistical power. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 867–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pearce, J.M., & Hall, G. (1980). A model for Pavlovian learning: variations in the effectiveness of conditioned but not of unconditioned stimuli. Psychological Review, 87(6), 532–552.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Pfister, R., Dignath, D., Hommel, B., & Kunde, W. (2013). It takes two to imitate anticipation and imitation in social interaction. Psychological Science, 24(10), 2117–2121.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Pfister, R., Kiesel, A., & Hoffmann, J. (2011). Learning at any rate: action–effect learning for stimulus-based actions. Psychological Research Psychologische Forschung, 75(1), 61–65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Prinz, W. (2002). Experimental approaches to imitation. In A. N. Meltzoff & W. Prinz (Eds.), The imitative mind: development, evolution, and brain bases (pp. 143–162). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Reber, R., Winkielman, P., & Schwarz, N. (1998). Effects of perceptual fluency on affective judgments. Psychological Science, 9(1), 45–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rescorla, R.A., & Wagner, A.R. (1972). A theory of Pavlovian conditioning: Variations in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement. In A. H. Black & W. F. Prokasy (Eds.), Classical conditioning II (pp. 64–99). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  51. Schwarz, N., Bless, H., Strack, F., Klumpp, G., Rittenauer-Schatka, H., & Simons, A. (1991). Ease of retrieval as information: Another look at the availability heuristic. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(2), 195–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sparenberg, P., Topolinski, S., Springer, A., & Prinz, W. (2012). Minimal mimicry: Mere effector matching induces preference. Brain and Cognition, 80(3), 291–300.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Spengler, S., von Cramon, D.Y., & Brass, M. (2009). Was it me or was it you? How the sense of agency originates from ideomotor learning revealed by fMRI. Neuroimage, 46(1), 290–298.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Stephens, J.M. (1934). The influence of punishment on learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 17(4), 536–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Topolinski, S., & Reber, R. (2010). Immediate truth–Temporal contiguity between a cognitive problem and its solution determines experienced veracity of the solution. Cognition, 114(1), 117–122.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Van Baaren, R.B., Holland, R.W., Steenaert, B., & van Knippenberg, A. (2003). Mimicry for money: behavioral consequences of imitation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39(4), 393–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Van Baaren, R.B., Holland, R.W., Kawakami, K., & Van Knippenberg, A. (2004). Mimicry and prosocial behavior. Psychological Science, 15(1), 71–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang, Y., & Hamilton, A.F. (2012). Social top-down response modulation (STORM): a model of the control of mimicry in social interaction. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(153).Google Scholar
  59. Winkielman, P., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2001). Mind at ease puts a smile on the face: psychophysiological evidence that processing facilitation elicits positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(6), 989–1000.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Zajonc, R.B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(2), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations