The social functions of mimicry on the consequences and qualifiers of facial imitation
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[S.l. : s.n.]
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RU Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 26 september 2005
Promotor : Vonk, R.
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SW OZ BSI SCP
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
This thesis deals with the social functions of mimicry. Mimicry was defined broadly as 'doing what others are doing'. This 'doing' can be verbal or nonverbal behaviors and expressions, like words, accents, speech rates, postures, gestures, and facial expressions. Part I of this thesis was aimed to provide insights on the social functions of mimicry by thoroughly inquiring and relating social benefits of mimicry to each other. In Part II, this investigation on the social functions of mimicry was proceeded by examining the limitations of mimicry-effects. Overall, the current thesis shows that mimicry has social benefits for mimickers and mimickees; empathy and understanding is facilitated, which creates a special bond between people. When those consequences of mimicry appear not to be functional in specific situations, the effects of mimicry are reduced. This implies that mimicry can be a tool to regulate people's social lives, which cannot be forced. However, people catch others' emotions due to mimicry regardless its functions. Implying that people have an innate tendency to feel into other people's emotions via mimicry, which can only be disrupted when losing one's facial expressions. The findings have implications for understanding why people nonconsciously and automatically mimic. It seems that mimicry facilitates interactions and creates bonds between people. But more importantly, mimicry facilitates empathy and understanding for one another, which is the basis of positive and lasting relationships
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