When and why mimicry is facilitated and attenuated

M. Stel, Eric Van Dijk, Rick B. Van Baaren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although people tend to mimic others automatically, mimicry is facilitated or attenuated depending on the specific context. In the current paper, the authors discuss when mimicry is facilitated and attenuated depending on characteristics of situations, targets, and observers. On the basis of the review, the authors propose a new model – the Associated Reactions to Actions in Context model (ARAC) – to explain why and when mimicry is facilitated and attenuated. ARAC proposes that when people observe an action, reaction-to-action neurons fire. Which reaction is elicited depends on the (learned or innate) association with an action in that context. Thus, when mimicry is rewarding in a specific context, this response is facilitated. When mimicry is damaging, this response is attenuated, and another reaction may be facilitated instead. The authors discuss the added value of the ARAC model compared to other models explaining the elicitation of behavioral reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-574
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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