ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (6): 916-924.

• 研究前沿 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

From “Chameleon effect” to “Mirror Neurons” and to “Echopraxia”: Human Mimicry Comes from Social Interaction

WANG Yin;ZANG Yin-Yin;CHEN Wei   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, the University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK)
    (2 Institute of Work, Health and Organisations, the University of Nottingham, NG8 1BB, UK)
    (3 Department of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2010-09-27 Revised:1900-01-01 Online:2011-06-15 Published:2011-06-15
  • Contact: CHEN Wei

Abstract: Mimicry refers to the unconscious imitation of other people’s behavior. It facilitates social interaction and plays a key role in one’s cognitive and social development. Converging evidences in cognitive neuroscience reveal that the neural mechanism of mimicry is based on mirror neuron system. Neuropsychological research suggests that clinical mimicry disorders such as echopraxia arise from the dysfunctional control of this system. As both the formation of mirror neurons and the control of mimicry are crucially driven by social interaction, here it is concluded that human mimicry is the product of social interaction. This point of view helps us better understand the ontogeny of mimicry in both neural and behavioral level and sheds light on the practical approaches to improve infant’s social and cognitive development. Finally, implications for the research of autism are discussed.

Key words: human mimicry, chameleon effect, mirror neurons, associative learning theory, echopraxia, social interaction, autism