Group membership does not modulate automatic imitation

Oliver Genschow*, Mareike Westfal, Emiel Cracco, Jan Crusius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Individuals have the automatic tendency to imitate each other. A key prediction of different theories explaining automatic imitation is that individuals imitate in-group members more strongly than out-group members. However, the empirical basis for this prediction is rather inconclusive. Only a few experiments have investigated the influence of group membership using classic automatic imitation paradigms and these experiments led to mixed results. To put the group membership prediction to a critical test, we carried out six high-powered experiments (total N = 1538) in which we assessed imitation with the imitation-inhibition task and manipulated group membership in different ways. Evidence across all experiments indicates that group membership does not modulate automatic imitation. Moreover, we do not find support for the idea that feelings of affiliation or perceived similarity moderate the effect of group membership on automatic imitation. These results have important implications for theories explaining automatic imitation and contribute to the current discussion of whether automatic imitation can be socially modulated.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • ATTENTION
  • BOTTOM-UP
  • EXECUTION
  • INGROUP
  • MIMICRY
  • MOTOR
  • MOVEMENT
  • PERCEPTION
  • RESPONSES
  • TOP-DOWN

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