Social Psychology (research)

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Claire Ashton-Jones

Dr. Claire Ashton-James, Assistant Professor

My research investigates behavioural mimicry – the nonconscious imitation of others motor movements. Behavioural mimicry occurs automatically in response to the perception of others’ actions, but the frequency with which people mimic each other is moderated by several affective and motivational processes. It is important to understand factors that facilitate or undermine behavioural mimicry, because the extent to which people mimic others affects the quality of their social relationships and social interactions.

Currently, I am interested in examining individual and group differences in behavioural mimicry that may arise as a result of affective, clinical, or culture-based differences in interdependence and communal orientation. For example, loneliness, depression, and social anxiety are associated with reduced mimicry of others, and there may be geographical, national, ethnic, socio-economic, and religious differences in mimicry behaviour.  Clearly there are a wide range of individual and group differences in automatic behavior to be explored.

References:
- Ashton-James, C. E., van Baaren, R., Chartrand, T. L., Decety, J., & Karremans J. (2007). Mimicry and Me: The impact of mimicry on self-construals. Social Cognition, 25, 518-535.

- Ashton-James, C. E. & Chartrand, T. L. (2009). Social cues for creativity: The impact of mimicry on convergent and divergent thinking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1036-1040.

- Lakin, J., Jefferis, V., Cheng, C. & Chartrand, C. (2003).  The chameleon effect as social glue: Evidence for the evolutionary significance of nonconscious mimicry. Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour, 27, 145-151.

- Van Baaren, R., Maddux, W., Chartrand, T. L., de Bouter, C., & van Knippenberg, A. (2003). It takes two to mimic: Behavioural consequences of self-construals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1095-1102.

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