Unintentional Mirroring: The Chameleon Effect

September 13, 2006 at 11:21 pm 9 comments

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Have you ever noticed that you sometimes you lean forward when someone you’re talking with leans forward? Or you fold your arms when your friend folds their arm?

The Chameleon Effect is the unintentional physical and verbal mirroring between people who are getting along well. People may mimic each others’ body posture, hand gestures, speaking accents, and other behaviors when they are in rapport. The body is actually autonomously making the interaction smoother and increasing the level of liking while communicating.

Experimenters saw an increase in a subject’s behavior, such as shaking their foot, when they shook their foot during an interaction. When experimenters intentionally copied the mannerisms of a subject, the subject reported to like the experimenter more and claimed the interaction was more harmonious. Empathic individuals, those who took the perspective of others, were also found to mirror another person’s action more often.

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.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Psychology, Sociology.

How personalization and authentication affect Internet surveys The Impact of Communication Technology on Lying Behavior

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Addison Higley  |  September 29, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    Just a little while ago I read a book that was talking about the prinicples of influence. Two of the principles apply here.
    First of all, mimicing usually occurs when the mimiced person is an authority figure (though perhaps people also do it when they get along well, I’m just not convinced based on what I see here). For example on Larry King Live, when former president Clinton was on the show Larry would mimic Clinton. However when someone of less authority or of lower status was on the show, they mimiced Larry Kings speech patterns.
    Second, people like those that are similar to them. So, if the researchers mimiced the test subjects it would hold that they would like them better. My point is that it goes beyond mimicing.

    Both of these prinicples have a lot of evidence to back them up, however my copy of the book is on loan so I can’t site sources right now. If you want them, though, shoot me an e-mail at comptechnotech@gmail.com and I will respond as soon as I get my book back.

    Reply
  • 2. TINA GRIMES  |  October 19, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL MIMICS OTHER(S) , DOES IT MEAN THAT HE/SHE IS SUPPOSEDLY “BRILLIANT”…. I DON’T SEE IT BEING THAT, HOWEVER, I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT IT IS.

    I FEEL THAT WHEN SOME ONE IS MIMICING THE PERSON HE/SHE IS TALKING TO, IT IS INSULTING – I.E. SPEAKING TO A SPANISH SPEAKING PERSON W/ A SPANISH ACCENT WHEN YOU’RE NOT HISPANIC/SPANARD…

    Reply
  • 3. kevin  |  November 11, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    IT SURE IS INSULTING-I.E. SPEAKING TO A SPEAKING SPANISH ACCENT YOU’RE WHEN NOT HISPANIC I FEEL THE PERSON TALKING TO IS

    Reply
  • 4. Michelle  |  April 27, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Can the chameleon effect be a bad thing? I had a big fight with my partner because I unintentionally cut her off in a conversation. The argument drew out accusations that everything she does I have to do too, such as rolling up the window when she does, singing to the radio when she does, etc. Other than having problems with being oblivious to my actions, I wonder if there is a way to control them so I don’t ruin my relationship.

    Reply
  • 5. Shawn  |  November 1, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Um… I came searching about what this is called because I recently noticed I copy the mannerisms of everyone I talk to. I’m 18 and I’m just curious about why it is that I mimic the way someone acts and talks when I talk to them. Like when I talk to one friend i’ll talk just like they do, using there style of speech, if I understand what some of their slang terms mean, and if i turn to address another my whole style of speech shifts to reflect the new person I’m addressing.

    When i don’t know someone I tend to listen to them more then talk to them until i get a good understanding of how they talk and act before I start conversing with them.

    So is what I do the chameleon effect, or is it something else?

    Reply
  • 6. tom murphy  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I noticed that this woman , that I think kinda liked me did this. I think that she flirted with me . I use to wear bandanas and sometimes do and I noticed that this woman wore one too. My neighbor started to wear one also . I dunno . I still wear one though I really don’t care . I wear them because they keep my head from getting sunburned and the sweat out of my eyes. Yea and sometimes to hide the baldness. But again who cares . I would rather wear one than look like some preppy dude like Charlie Sheen. I mean really who dresses like that? I wish Andrew Dice Clay would come back. that dude at least was original .

    Reply
  • 7. Regina  |  July 3, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This content is very interesting but it took me a long
    time to find it in google. I found it on 21 spot, you should focus on quality backlinks
    building, it will help you to rank to google top 10. And i know how to help you, just search in google – k2 seo tips

    Reply
  • 8. Candace  |  August 28, 2014 at 4:44 am

    I read a lot of interesting posts here. Probably you spend a
    lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool that creates unique,
    google friendly posts in seconds, just type in google – laranitas free content source

    Reply
  • 9. The Chameleon Effect - : Nolan Overton  |  October 9, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    […] Effect references: http://tastyresearch.com/2006/09/13/the-chameleon-effect/ […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Feeds

Read any good papers lately?

If you're interested in academic research, I'd love to have additional contributors. Shoot me an email.

Contact


%d bloggers like this: