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Psychol Sci. 2008 Aug;19(8):816-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02162.x.

I am too just like you: nonconscious mimicry as an automatic behavioral response to social exclusion.

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Psychology Department, Drew University, Madison, NJ 07940, USA.


Research across various disciplines has demonstrated that social exclusion has devastating psychological, emotional, and behavioral consequences. Excluded individuals are therefore motivated to affiliate with others, even though they may not have the resources, cognitive or otherwise, to do so. The current research explored whether nonconscious mimicry of other individuals-a low-cost, low-risk, automatic behavior-might help excluded individuals address threatened belongingness needs. Experiment 1 demonstrated that excluded people mimic a subsequent interaction partner more than included people do. Experiment 2 showed that individuals excluded by an in-group selectively (and nonconsciously) mimic a confederate who is an in-group member more than a confederate who is an out-group member. The relationship between exclusion and mimicry suggests that there are automatic behaviors people can use to recover from the experience of being excluded. In addition, this research demonstrates that nonconscious mimicry is selective and sensitive to context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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