Kameleonteffekten som katalysator för imitation inom och mellan djurarter

Projekt: Forskning


Populärvetenskaplig beskrivning

I studier av djurs imitationsförmågor har man ofta förbisett en central aspekt hos mänsklig imitation, speciellt för våra barn: integrationen av handlingarna i en social och affektiv kontext. Detta är speciellt tydligt när det gäller studier som inneburit imitation över artgränserna. Projektet studerar kameleonteffekten och dess eventuellt underlättande funktion vid imitation.

[Swedish translation forthcoming]

Once considered to be a relatively low-level and cognitively undemanding behaviour that humans share with other primates, imitation is characterized in recent research as a high-level ability that enables and/or is inherently linked to the evolution (in phylo- and ontogenesis) of (social)-cognitive abilities that are attributed (almost) exclusively to humans, including language, self-awareness, theory of mind and culture formation. As such, imitation lies at the very heart of many current debates, and a better understanding of the phenomenon, its manifestations and underlying mechanisms may help elucidate crucial questions in the quest for “humanness”.

In the project, we aim to advance both theory and methodology in the field by attempting to link a seemingly lower-level ability, i.e. non-conscious imitation, to the higher-level ability of imitation learning (commonly held responsible for the cultural inheritance of behaviours). To enhance the relationship between subjects, and potentially the motivation to learn socially, we will utilise the increased sense of affinity and affiliation that in human interactions emerges from mutual, yet unaware and unintentional, imitation of gestures, postures, mannerisms or facial expressions [=kameleonteffekten].

We study both the within-species (human children) and between-species (humans and chimpanzees) effect of non-conscious mimicry, as well as its effects in imitation tasks for both species
Gällande start-/slutdatum2013/01/012015/12/31

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Psykologi (exklusive tillämpad psykologi)
  • Zoologi