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. (shrink)
Mimicry in the animal kingdom mostly consists of two major types: by appearance or by behaviour. Although these are not the only ones, they will be the main focus of this article. We will develop two purposes of behavioural mimicry in animal death rituals : how it helps understanding a complex concept, and how it teaches to manage intense emotions. We will first show how ritual mimicry is a logical step in the evolution of appearance mimicry (...) and why it can be a major advantage for the species that are able to use it. We will give a brief explanation of the importance of the notion of semiosis in behavioural mimicry. In a few words, we will also describe what a ritual is, how to recognize it and what its different features are. Then, for the first purpose, we will show how understanding what death is, or at least, what it is not – not sleep, nor illness – is difficult. This process starts through mimicry, which raises awareness in the young that a major event is occurring. For the second purpose, we will show how mimicry helps the young learn ritual behaviours and gestures which help distressed adults with managing their emotions in these situations. As such, mimicry is also a way to learn this emotional behaviour management, enabling the young – and future adult – to be less distressed when confronted with loss. (shrink)
Mimicry, camouflage, transvestism, chance or cryptic anamorphism, fascination – all ways of changing clothes, habits and habitats in nature as well as in culture, in any symbolic field created by human beings during their history. Art and artification, aestheticization, stylization and beautification are all practices reflecting the need and desire for biological as well as social adaptation, all performances producing functional and fictional frames, boundaries or hierarchies in ordinary life, including the artworld. They can persuade and convince by creating (...) consensus and belief, but they can also lead to a different common sense, a sensorium – a sensorial medium and an aesthetic mediation open to a new world and to new experiences. -/- By investigating mimetism as a fundamental and polymorphic aesthetic performance, this issue of «Aisthesis» aims to rethink the concept, value, and function of mimesis and its media in the context of camouflage, simulation, and dissimulation, where images do not reveal themselves as such, but are to be perceived unambiguously as what they are not – as hieroglyphs or puzzles. In the animal kingdom, as well as in war or in ordinary public life, camouflage consists in taking on the traits, colours, and shapes of a given form or environment. This is a twofold process: on the one hand, by blending two or more shapes in one, the camoufleur seeks to remain hidden and to mislead the others in order to keep a vital secret or an ephemeral whim; on the other hand, however, he/she aims to be recognized by a specific milieu or group, thus betraying a craving for communication and familiarity, as well as a need to convey an agreeable appearance and to share a way of life. (shrink)
Despite decades of study, mimicry continues to inspire and challenge evolutionary biologists. This essay aims to assess recent conceptual frameworks for the study of mimicry and to examine the links between mimicry and related phenomena. Mimicry is defined here as similarity in appearance and/or behavior between a mimic and a model that provides a selective advantage to the mimic because it affects the behavior of a receiver causing it to misidentify the mimic, and that evolved because (...) of those effects. Mimics copy cues or signals that are already in use as part of a stable communication system, but offer misleading information to receivers. Mimicry overlaps, both conceptually and evolutionarily, with camouflage and perceptual exploitation but the overlap is only partial, which may create some confusion. Certain types of camouflage conform to the definition of mimicry, while others are not considered mimicry because they prevent detection rather than recognition of the camouflaged animal. Mimicry, on the other hand, works by exploiting peculiarities of the receiver at higher stages of sensory processing involving recognition and classification of stimuli. Perceptual exploitation models of trait evolution are also closely related to mimicry, and sensory traps in particular may act as a precursor for true mimicry to evolve. The common thread through these diverse phenomena is deception of a receiver by a mimic. Thus receiver deception emerges as a key characteristic of mimicry shared with some types of camouflage and perceptual exploitation. (shrink)
Mimicry is often cited as a compelling demonstration of the power of natural selection. By adopting signs of a protected model, mimics usually gain a reproductive advantage by minimising the likelihood of being preyed upon. Yet while natural selection plays a role in the evolution of mimicry, it can be doubted whether it fully explains it. Mimicry is mediated by the emergence of formally analogous patterns between unrelated organisms and by the fact that these patterns are meaningfully (...) perceived as similar. The perception of similarity is always perceiver-dependent. Similarities between for instance colours are psychophysical phenomena, and their existence is conditioned by an intimate interdependence between perceivers and perceptible reality. In this sense, mimicry is by its very nature dualistic. The analogy in form needed to establish a mimicry does not emerge out of the blue. It depends on the ecological context and the morphogenetic potential of a species. In our proposal, we take into account both the developmental generators of formally analogous structures and the perceptual and cognitive processes that lead to the emergence of mimicry. We show that some of the rather controversial and nowadays largely neglected ideas found in non-Anglo-Saxon literature on mimicry deserve closer attention. We suggest that the diversity of mimicry types is due to differences in variational properties of form-generating and perceptual systems among diverse groups of organisms. We also anticipate that processes studied within social psychology and emotion research probably take place, at least in a simplified form, also in non-human animals. Finally, we argue that these meaning-attributive processes underlie the functionality of mimicry. (shrink)
Defining biomimetics as the imitation of models, systems and elements of nature for the purpose to solve human complex problems, the essay considers some examples of that activity, like display technologies, and nanoscientific innovations. According to the literature on the subject, the further section of the article examines the possibility of giving a conceptual framework for biomimetic processes, starting from the observation of its current insufficient development both on the logical level and on a wider philosophical one. The fourth section (...) discusses the way through which an approach oriented to philosophical anthropology and recent perspectives on imitation can help us to understand this kind of phenomena at the intersection of human and animal fields. In the final sections, the text discusses the consequences of the biomimicry approach in the specific case of architecture and tries to draw some conclusions on the way an anthropology and an aesthetics of human mimicry and imitation can be re-shaped including biomimetics among their assumptions. (shrink)
In this paper, I tried to bring two domains of thought together, namely postcolonial theory and feminist theory, by doing a comparative analysis of the concept of mimicry in the works of Homi K. Bhabha and Luce Irigaray.
The essay explores the concept of interpretation in Freudian psychoanalysis as an act of reading. Freud understands the appearance of dreams and unconscious phantasies in analogy to the structure of perceptual images. On the one hand, he conceives of the patients’ verbal accounts of those images as a specific kind of ekphrasis. On the other hand, the images themselves are regarded as distorted versions of an underlying »dream text« rendering the fundamental desire that the images express and conceal at the (...) same time. The essay shows that the complex system of translations between different layers of text and image in Freud is based on the assumption that the dream images themselves can be analyzed as texts only mimicking the »natural« appearance of perceptions. Freud’s notion of the »rebus« is central to this discussion. The final part examines Freud’s reading of Michelangelo’s Moses statue in the church San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. It demonstrates how the Freudian method of interpretation itself reduces the sculpture to a set of signs, making it perform a mimicry of textual systems. (shrink)
In an earlier paper, I set out to apply to animal mimicry the definition of the sign, and, more specifically, of the iconic sign, which I originally elaborated in the study of pictures, and which was then extended by myself and others to language, gesture, and music. The present contribution, however, while summarizing some of the results of those earlier studies, is dedicated to the demonstration that animal mimicry, as well as phenomena of the human Lifeworld comparable to (...) it, are in a sense the opposite of signs. It has often been observed, not only within speech act philosophy, but also by the semiotician Luis Prieto, that as sign can only function as such once it is recognized to be a sign. Animal mimicry, camouflage, and the like, in contrast, only work as such, to the extent that they are not perceived as signs. Unlike what speech act philosophy claims, nevertheless, the “difference which makes a difference” is not the recognition of a purpose attributed to the subject producing the sign. A footprint, for example, has to be recognized as a sign in order to function as such. Nevertheless, to the extent that a purpose is attributed to the subject setting the sign, it may be considered a sign, but one that hides its nature, a fake footprint. Mimicry and camouflage, however, are similar to such “natural meanings” as footprints in entertaining a different relation to the agent initiating the act and the agent perceiving it. Classical studies of mimicry distinguish its varieties according to what is rather vaguely called function. In this paper, we will investigate whether these classifications can be recuperated from a semiotic point of view, or whether a semiotically valid classification should start from scratch. (shrink)
Mimicry has been an important topic for biology since the rise of the Darwinian theory of evolution. However. by its very narure mimicry is a sign process and the quest for understanding mimicry in biology has intrinsically always been a semiotic quest. In this paper various theories since Henry W. Bates will be examined to show how the concept of mimicry has been shifted from perceptual resemblance to a particular communicative structure. A concept of mimicry (...) will then be formulated which emphasizes its dynamic properties, and finally, mimicry will be considered in the framework of ecosemiotics. (shrink)
The recent changes in COVID-19 symptoms suggest convergent evolution of respiratory diseases. This process is analogous to the emergence of animal mimetic complexes and complements previously identified types of mimicry. A novel pathogen might go unnoticed or insufficiently counteracted if it resembles a disease that the host already faced on multiple occasions, which creates a selective pressure towards a typical symptomic phonotype. In short, the reason why so many unrelated pathogens cause similar symptoms may correspond to the reasons that (...) drove the evolution of the ‘warning’ wasp-like colouration in various insect species. (shrink)
According to the SIMS model, mimicry and simulation contribute to perceivers' understanding of smiles. We argue that similar mechanisms are involved in comprehending the hand gestures that people produce when speaking. Viewing gestures may elicit overt mimicry, or may evoke corresponding simulations in the minds of addressees. These real or simulated actions contribute to addressees' comprehension of speakers' gestures.
It is my contention that understanding natural phenomena such as vocal mimicry can bolster theories of the evolution of language and music as well as inform evolutionary and naturalistic aesthetics more generally. In this commentary I present this phenomena as a case study in order to stimulate further aesthetic theorising.
The article discusses evolutionary aspects of mimicry from a semiotic viewpoint. The concept of semiotic scaffolding is used for this approach, and its relations with the concepts of exaptation and semiotic co-option are explained. Different dimensions of scaffolding are brought out as ontogenetic, evolutionary, physiological and cognitive. These dimensions allow for interpreting mimicry as a system that scaffolds itself. With the help of a number of mimicry cases, e.g. butterfly eyespots, brood parasitism, and plant mimesis, the evolutionary (...) dynamics of mimicry in the open bio-semiosphere is investigated. The main argument is that biological mimicry largely develops through sign relations and communicative relations between organisms. It is proposed that mimicry systems should be described as two-layered structures composed of the ecological composition of the species involved and the semiotic structure of their communication. (shrink)
Ideomotor theory of human action control proposes that activation of a motor representation can occur either through internally-intended or externally-perceived actions. Critically, sometimes these alternatives of eliciting a motor response may be conflicting, for example, when intending one action and perceiving another, necessitating the recruitment of enhanced action-control to avoid motor mimicry. Based on previous neuroimaging evidence, suggesting that reduced mimicry is associated with self-related processing, we aimed to experimentally enhance these action-control mechanisms during motor contagion by inducing (...) self-focus. In two within-subjects experiments, participants had to enforce their action intention against an external motor contagion tendency under heightened and normal self-focus. During high self-focus participants showed reduced motor mimicry, induced either by mirror self-observation or self-referential judgments. This indicates that a self-focus provoking situation can enhance online action-control mechanisms, needed to resist unintentional motor contagion tendencies and thereby enables a modulation of automatic mirroring responses. (shrink)
We focus on the role that motor mimicry plays in the SIMS model when interpreting whether a facial emotional expression is appropriate to an eliciting context. Based on our research, we find general support for the SIMS model in these situations, but with some qualifications on how disruption of motor mimicry as a process relates to speed and accuracy in judgments.
Biological mimicry can be considered as having a double-layered structure: there is a layer of ecological relations between species and there is a layer of semiotic relations of the sign. The present article demonstrates the limitations of triadic models and typologies of mimicry, as well as their lack of correspondence to mimicry as it actually occurs in nature. It is argued that more dynamical semiotic tools are needed to describe mimicry in a theoretically coherent way that (...) would at the same time allow comparative approach to various mimicry cases. For this a five-stage model of analysis is proposed, which incorporates classical mimicry theory, Jakob von Uexküll’s Umwelt-theory, as well as semiotic and communication analysis. This research model can be expressed in the form of five questions: 1) What is the formal structure of mimicry system? 2) What are the perceptual and effectual correspondences between the participants of mimicry? 3) What are the characteristics of resemblances? 4) How is the mimicry system regulated in ontogenetic and evolutionary processes? 5) How is the mimicry system related to human cultural processes? As a practical example of this semiotic methodology, brood parasitism between the common cuckoo Cuculus canorus and his frequent host species is examined. (shrink)
Biological mimicry is regarded by many as a textbook illustration of Darwin’s idea of evolution by random mutation followed by differential selection of reproductively fit specimens, resulting in gradual phenotypic change in a population. In this paper, I argue that some cases of so-called mimicry are probably merely look-a-likes and do not gain an advantage due to their similarity in appearance to something else. In cases where a similar appearance does provide a benefit, I argue that it is (...) possible that these forms of mimicry were created in a single generation. An interpretive response to an appearance as a sign can make a new structure perform drastically differently in an environment. In such cases, Darwin’s natural selection mechanism only helps to explain gradual the spread of these new forms, not the creation of them. I argue that biosemiosis should be regarded as a much more powerful mechanism for affecting evolutionary trajectories than the gradualist view allows. I focus on two cases of butterfly mimicry: the Viceroy and Monarch butterflies, supposed Müllerian mimics, and deadleaf mimic butterflies. (shrink)
This essay deals with the essentialism controversy concerning Luce Irigaray through looking into her strategic use of mimicry, which has not been fully addressed by her critics. The author argues that what appear to be essentialist elements in Irigaray's writings are in fact the "sites" where she is mimicking the phallogocentric discourse in order to uncover its essentialist and "sexed" nature and at the same time to resist being reabsorbed into its reductive order.
In the paper we look into the epistemology of quantum theory. The starting point is the previously established mathematical ambiguity. The perspective of our study is the way that Schrödinger described Einstein’s idea of physics epistemology. Namely, physical theory is a map with flags. Each flag must, according to Einstein in Schrödinger’s representation, correspond to a physical reality and vice versa. With the ambiguity transformed to quantum-like operators we are able to mimic quantum theory. Therefore we have created little flags. (...) The question is raised whether nature itself is ambiguous. The created flags point at ambiguous nature. Or, nature is not ambiguous and the ambiguity can be repaired in mathematics. (shrink)
What we observe, through our usually limited lens, is that differential growing of space determines forms -characterized by their shape, size and coloration. As non-Euclidean geometrical mathematics have proclaimed: forms are manifestations of the curvature of space. Physics and other natural laws impose mathematical structural restrictions to biological forms. The molecules comprising any living form become arranged in specific ways in response to physical forces as well as chemical and biochemical conditions. Over time, such forms inherit additional historical restrictions that (...) make up their meaning, their semiotics. Color does not escape from this orthogenic reality. In this study, we present the colored pattern of the connexivum of Triatoma maculata, an insect vector of the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. This model is used as an example to appreciate mimicry under a heterodox and provocative approach. We unveil that beyond 1) mathematical and 2) historical semiotic restrictions of T. maculata mimesis of a yellowish-black alternating pattern, there are also 3) artistic interpretations; where metaphysics of life, beyond human perspective, is included. (shrink)
The concept of biological mimicry is viewed as a ‘process of life’ theory rather than a ‘process of change’ theory—regardless of the historical interest and heuristic value of the subject for the study of evolution. Mimicry is a dynamic ecological system reflecting the possibilities for mutualism and parasitism created by a pre-established bipartite signal-based relationship between two organisms – a potential model and its signal receiver. In a mimicry system agency and perception play essential, interconnected roles. (...) class='Hi'>Mimicry thus describes emergent biologically meaningful relationships based on synergy, and is not an object-based theory. Biosemiotics offers a particularly valuable discipline for analysing the dynamics and nuances of mimicry systems, and can thus pave the way for a better and more complete understanding of how mimicry has evolved in the past, and how it might evolve in the future—presented here with special reference to the need for an integrated, ‘third way of evolution’ approach to biological relativity. A revised definition of mimicry is proposed. (shrink)
The Temptation of Mimicry.Patrizia Marti - 2014 - Interaction Studies. Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies / Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies 15 (2):184-189.details
In Kafka’s literary world, several animals emerge; they belong to an odd and enigmatic fauna, on the edge between violence and artistry but also between stillness and music; according to the writer, scripture represents both the fault and the punishment waiting for the solitary artist. Animals, especially depicted as hordes of small mice or other rodents, also hint to the heterogeneous structure of the Self, who doesn’t manage to keep under control all the divisions in his ambiguous dentity. Through opposition (...) between the point of view of the subject, who considers his own isolation as indispensable to carry on writing, and the multitude of escaping small animals, Kafka also expresses and experiences his own impossibility of “description”. In the meantime, Kafka’s animals embody the creatural and unconscious sources of imagination the writer draws from that constantly escape his own control and willingness, pushing forwards into an unknown and inhospitable region, towards the wasteland, the eternal winter that can be identified with scripture. In writing, a deep metamorphosis of the Self takes place. Kafka shares this belief with one of the writers he most admired and considered his master, Gustave Flaubert, who firmly thought that, while writing, one loses his previous identity, becoming someone else, even assuming the appearence of the “otherness”. We can state that Kafka’s imagery of animals takes to the extreme the paradox and ambiguity the idea of writing relies on, also reproducing, especially, in his hybrid creatures, the feeling of uncertainty and lack of safety of the assimilated Jewish artist. (shrink)