As social creatures there are some basic issues that need to be addressed.
One of the most important issues involves letting people know whether we like them or not (see, relational dynamics). When we meet someone we like (or dislike), it is not like we can just say it out loud. Imagine if everyone were to be explicit about their feelings. How awkward would that be?
Yet as a social creature, we have to do just that. Social life depends on signaling to others how we feel about them. The most basic way we signal our feelings is through mimicry. When we meet someone we like, we mimic their behavior. We mimic their facial expressions, gestures, posture, vocal cadence, and much more.
New research shows that the power of mimicry starts early in life. Infants, who are just 18-months-old, respond to mimicry. Infants, whose movements were mimicked, were subsequently more open and positive toward others.
Who do you mimic and who mimics you?
Paying attention to mimicry is a great way to figure out how people feel about each other.