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Understanding the role of the ‘self’ in the social priming of mimicry

Wang, Yin; Hamilton, Antonia F. de C.

Authors

Yin Wang mirrorneuronwang@gmail.com

Antonia F. de C. Hamilton



Abstract

People have a tendency to unconsciously mimic other's actions. This mimicry has been regarded as a prosocial response which increases social affiliation. Previous research on social priming of mimicry demonstrated an assimilative relationship between mimicry and prosociality of the primed construct: prosocial primes elicit stronger mimicry whereas antisocial primes decrease mimicry. The present research extends these findings by showing that assimilative and contrasting prime-to-behavior effect can both happen on mimicry. Specifically, experiment 1 showed a robust contrast priming effect where priming antisocial behaviors induces stronger mimicry than priming prosocial behaviors. In experiment 2, we manipulated the self-relatedness of the pro/antisocial primes and further revealed that prosocial primes increase mimicry only when the social primes are self-related whereas antisocial primes increase mimicry only when the social primes are self-unrelated. In experiment 3, we used a novel cartoon movie paradigm to prime pro/antisocial behaviors and manipulated the perspective-taking when participants were watching these movies. Again, we found that prosocial primes increase mimicry only when participants took a first-person point of view whereas antisocial primes increase mimicry only when participants took a third-person point of view, which replicated the findings in experiment 2. We suggest that these three studies can be best explained by the active-self theory, which claims that the direction of prime-to-behavior effects depends on how primes are processed in relation to the ‘self’.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 2, 2013
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 4
Article Number e60249
APA6 Citation Wang, Y., & Hamilton, A. F. D. C. (2013). Understanding the role of the ‘self’ in the social priming of mimicry. PLoS ONE, 8(4), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060249
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0060249
Publisher URL http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0060249
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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