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Group dynamics in automatic imitation

Gleibs, Ilka H., Wilson, Neil, Reddy, Geetha and Catmur, Caroline (2016) Group dynamics in automatic imitation. PLOS ONE, 11 (9). e0162880. ISSN 1932-6203

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Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162880

Abstract

Imitation – matching the configural body movements of another individual – plays a crucial part in social interaction. We investigated whether automatic imitation is not only influenced by who we imitate (ingroup vs. outgroup member) but also by the nature of an expected interaction situation (competitive vs. cooperative). In line with assumptions from Social Identity Theory [1]), we predicted that both social group membership and the expected situation impact on the level of automatic imitation. We adopted a 2 (group membership target: ingroup, outgroup) x 2 (situation: cooperative, competitive) design. The dependent variable was the degree to which participants imitated the target in a reaction time automatic imitation task [e.g., 2]. 99 female students from two British Universities participated. We found a significant two-way interaction on the imitation effect. When interacting in expectation of cooperation, imitation was stronger for an ingroup target compared to an outgroup target. However, this was not the case in the competitive condition where imitation did not differ between ingroup and outgroup target. This demonstrates that the goal structure of an expected interaction will determine the extent to which intergroup relations influence imitation, supporting a social identity approach.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2016 09:03
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 02:22
Projects: EP/J005053/1, ES/K00140X/1
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/67722

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