You want to know the truth? Then don't mimic!

Mariëlle Stel* (Corresponding Author), Eric Van Dijk, Einav Olivier

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Mimicry facilitates the ability to understand what other people are feeling. The present research investigated whether this is also true when the expressions that are being mimicked do not reflect the other person's true emotions. In interactions, targets either lied or told the truth, while observers mimicked or did not mimic the targets' facial and behavioral movements. Detection of deception was measured directly by observers' judgments of the extent to which they thought the targets were telling the truth and indirectly by observers' assessment of targets' emotions. The results demonstrated that nonmimickers were more accurate than mimickers in their estimations of targets' truthfulness and of targets' experienced emotions. The results contradict the view that mimicry facilitates the understanding of people's felt emotions. In the case of deceptive messages, mimicry hinders this emotional understanding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)693-699
    Number of pages7
    JournalPsychological science
    Volume20
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009

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