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Seminal studies suggest that being mimicked increases experienced social closeness and prosocial behavior to a mimicking confederate (i.e., interaction partner). Here we reexamine these results by considering the role of empathy-related traits, an indirect proxy for endorphin uptake, and their combined effects as an explanation for these results. 180 female participants were mimicked or anti-mimicked in an interaction with a confederate. The effects of being mimicked versus anti-mimicked in relation to empathy-related traits and endorphin release (assessed indirectly via pain tolerance) on experienced closeness and prosocial behavior were assessed using Bayesian analyses. Our results suggest that high individual empathy-related traits increase social closeness to the anti-mimicking and mimicking confederate and to one's romantic partner, as compared to mimicry alone. Results furthermore strongly suggest that high individual empathy-related traits increase prosocial behavior (donations and willingness to help) as compared to mimicry alone. These findings extend previous work by highlighting that empathy-related traits are more influential in creating positive effects on social closeness and prosocial behavior than a one-shot mimicking encounter.

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Humans, Female, Altruism, Social Behavior, Empathy, Bayes Theorem, Pain Threshold