Disentangling the Sources of Mimicry: Social Relations Analyses of the Link Between Mimicry and Liking

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Maike Svenya Salazar Kämpf - , Leipzig University (Joint first author)
  • Helén Liebermann - , Free University of Berlin (Joint first author)
  • Rudolf Kerschreiter - , Free University of Berlin (Author)
  • Sascha Krause - , Leipzig University (Author)
  • Steffen Nestler - , Leipzig University (Author)
  • Stefan Schmukle - , Leipzig University (Author)


Mimicry is an important interpersonal behavior for initiating and maintaining relationships. By observing the same participants (N = 139) in multiple dyadic interactions (618 data points) in a round-robin design, we disentangled the extent to which mimicry is due to (a) the mimicker’s general tendency to mimic (imitativity), (b) the mimickee’s general tendency to evoke mimicry (imitatability), and (c) the unique dyadic relationship between the mimicker and the mimickee. We explored how these mimicry components affected liking and metaperceptions of liking (i.e., metaliking). Employing social relations models, we found substantial interindividual differences in imitativity, which predicted popularity. However, we found only small interindividual differences in imitatability. We found support for our proposition that mimicry is a substantially dyadic construct explained mostly by the unique relationship between two people. Finally, we explored the link between dyadic mimicry and liking, and we found that a person’s initial liking of his or her interaction partner led to mimicry, which in turn increased the partner’s liking of the mimicker.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

Scopus 85040736855



  • social mimicry, likings, social relations model, round-robin design, social chameleons, Open data, open materials

Library keywords