Using Nonconscious Behavioral Mimicry to Create Affiliation and Rapport
Nonconscious behavioral mimicry occurs when a person unwittingly imitates the behaviors of another person. This mimicry has been attributed to a direct link between perceiving a behavior and performing that same behavior. The current experiments explored whether having a goal to affiliate augments the tendency to mimic the behaviors of interaction partners. Experiment 1 demonstrated that having an affiliation goal increases nonconscious mimicry, and Experiment 2 further supported this proposition by demonstrating that people who have unsuccessfully attempted to affiliate in an interaction subsequently exhibit more mimicry than those who have not experienced such a failure. Results suggest that behavioral mimicry may be part of a person's repertoire of behaviors, used nonconsciously, when there is a desire to create rapport.