Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chameleons and copycats: How mimicry affects interpersonal persuasion

14.02.2008
Study finds that watching someone eat a snack will cause you to also eat more of it

Social scientists have long been intrigued by the human tendency to mimic the behavior of others. Now, a new study from the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research expands the field, exploring the potential for mimicry to influence product consumption.

The researchers find that watching someone else eat a certain food—in this case, either goldfish crackers or animal crackers – will cause the viewer to be inclined to eat the same thing. Additionally, in another experiment, participants who had their posture and speech mimicked by a salesperson rated the product higher and consumed more of it.

In the first study, participants were seated in front of a computer in a private lab room and asked to watch a video of a fellow participant (actually someone who was a part of the study) describing a series of ads while occasionally taking goldfish or animal crackers from a bowl. Bowls of both goldfish and animal crackers were present, but the subject in the video only took from one of the two bowls the entire time.

Some participants also had two bowls of food in front of them, one filled with goldfish crackers and the other with animal crackers. Those who watched a person eat goldfish crackers took from the goldfish bowl 71 percent of the time. Those who watched a person eat animal crackers only took from the goldfish bowl 44 percent of the time. Importantly, a pre-rating among participants found that goldfish crackers were preferred over animal crackers, on average.

“A person who views someone else’s snacking behavior will come to exhibit a similar snack selection pattern,” explain Robin J. Tanner (Duke University), Rosellina Ferraro (University of Maryland), Tanya L. Chartrand (Duke University), James R. Bettman (Duke University), and Rick Van Baaren (University of Amsterdam).

“This suggests that preferences may shift as a result of unintentionally mimicking another person’s consumption behavior.”

In another experiment, the researchers examined whether a person who is mimicked would come to like that person more than they would otherwise, and whether that would lead to a more positive response towards a product endorsed by the mimicker. Participants who had their posture, body angle, foot movements, and verbal patterns mimicked rated a new sports drink more positively and drank more of the sports drink than participants who were not mimicked. A separate experiment showed that the positive ratings and the amount consumed was even higher when the mimicker expressly stated that he or she was invested in the success of the product.

“This suggests that mimicry has the potential to be a valuable tool in interpersonal persuasion, particularly in cases where the motivations and persuasive intent of the mimicker are transparent,” the researchers write. “So, even though consumers might try to resist a salesperson’s pitch, being mimicked by that salesperson makes that pitch more impacting.”

Robin J. Tanner, Rosellina Ferraro, Tanya L. Chartrand, James R. Bettman, and Rick Van Baaren, “Of Chameleons and Consumption: The Impact of Mimicry on Choice and Preferences.” Journal of Consumer Research: April 2008.

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>