Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Being imitated has a wide range of pro-social effects, but it is not clear how these effects are mediated. Naturalistic studies of the effects of being imitated have not established whether pro-social outcomes are due to the similarity and/or the contingency between the movements performed by the actor and those of the imitator. Similarity is often assumed to be the active ingredient, but we hypothesized that contingency might also be important, as it produces positive affect in infants and can be detected by phylogenetically ancient mechanisms of associative learning. We manipulated similarity and contingency between performed and observed actions in a computerized task. Similarity had no positive effects; however, contingency resulted in greater enjoyment of the task, reported closeness to others, and helping behavior. These results suggest that the pro-social effects of being imitated may rely on associative mechanisms.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/cogs.12071

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cogn Sci

Publication Date

11/2013

Volume

37

Pages

1541 - 1552

Keywords

Associative learning, Contingency, Imitation, Perception and action, Pro-social behavior, Synchrony, Adult, Attention, Female, Helping Behavior, Humans, Imitative Behavior, Male, Psychomotor Performance, Social Behavior