Rapport and being a copy cat.

Imitation is one of the most common and recognizable behaviours in human interactions, just as a young ape copy's its behaviours such as climbing and swinging across trees just like other apes, people copy other people's actions whether it is posture, mannerisms, words or accents. This behavioural mimicry is called rapport. When people are in rapport they understand each other whether its each others, ideas, feelings or personal views, rapport takes place when the people involved in the same interaction are in sync; in fact this is the foundation of all positive communication because rapport is a by-product of trust and a sense of being on the same wavelength, this is all subconscious of course.


Psychologists have found that the mimicry that goes with rapport tends to increase when the people involved are performing a common goal or task, this maybe because when performing a task the people that are included are forced to embody a similar mindset required for the task, for example in a game of football; a football player having the mindset of a basketball player would be out of sync with the other football players making it more difficult to communicate, cooperate and perform as opposed to the football player having a mindset of another football player so now he/she will be in sync with the other players and they now will be able to interact and play smoothly. Mimicry is usually one of being persuasive, charismatic and having the ability to smoothly converse with someone effectively, for instance really good sales people understand that to be able to sell their product they have to essentially sell themselves and by doing this the customer has to feel that they are being understood and that the salesman can see their point of view.






A study at Duke University North Carolina led by assistant Professor Robin Tanner researched the psychology of how mimicry affect potential buyers and clients. The experiments involved 37 Duke students to try a new sports drink and answer a few questions in an interview regarding this sports drink, during each interview the interviewer mirrored roughly half the participants. The interviewer mirrored the participants posture, body language and body movements with a two second delay so if the participant folds their arms after two seconds the interviewer would fold their arms, if the participant scratches their face, taps the table, rub their nose the interviewer does the same after two second gap and if the participant crosses their legs the interviewer does the same with opposing legs and so on. The idea was not to follow too closely otherwise the person being mirrored will find out and not respond naturally in the remainder of the interview. Luckily for the researcher none of the mimicked students picked up on any of the mimicry though interestingly enough by the end of the interview they were more likely to consume this new sports drink and more importantly they said they would buy it and assumed it would be successful in the market. That goes to show that the flattery of being a copy cat can go a long way.

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