The Chameleon as a Leech: The Costs of Mimicry for the Mimickee

Polish Psychological Bulletin 47 (1):131-135 (2016)

Mimicry is known to produce benefits for the mimicker such as liking, increased prosocial tendencies, and trust. Little is known about the benefits or costs to the mimickee. The aim of this study is to explore this issue. Participants were mimicked or not by a confederate. The confederate then dropped pens and checked if the participants picked them up. Finally, questionnaires were administered that assessed each participant’s liking of the confederate and self-liking, and self-esteem. As expected, mimicked participants picked up more pens and liked the mimicker more. Surprisingly, mimicked participants reported significantly lower self-like when compared to non-mimicked participants, and their self-esteem tended towards being lower. This research fills an important theoretical gap showing that there is a great cost to mimicry.
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DOI 10.1515/ppb-2016-0014
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