Cognition and Emotion 32 (1):92-101 (2018)

As intergenerational interactions increase due to an ageing population, the study of emotion-related responses to the elderly is increasingly relevant. Previous research found mixed results regarding affective mimicry – a measure related to liking and affiliation. In the current study, we investigated emotional mimicry to younger and older actors following an encounter with a younger and older player in a Cyberball game. In a complete exclusion condition, in which both younger and older players excluded the participant, we expected emotional mimicry to be stronger for younger vs. older actors. In a partial inclusion condition, in which the younger player excluded while the older player included the participant, we predicted that the difference in player behaviour would lead to a difference in liking. This increased liking of the older interaction partner should reduce the difference in emotional mimicry towards the two different age groups. Results revealed more mimicry for older actors following partial inclusion especially for negative emotions, suggesting inclusive behaviour by an older person in an interaction as a possible means to increase mimicry and affiliation to the elderly.
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DOI 10.1080/02699931.2017.1284046
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