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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do, monkey approve

From MSNBC:

We humans often imitate the body postures or mannerisms of people we meet, usually without either person realizing it.

Previous studies have shown that this imitation promotes affection and empathy for the imitator in the people who are being imitated, suggesting thiscommon human behavior evolved to help us get along and thrive in social groupings. In short, it might help strangers become friends.

But whether or not the same was true for other primates wasn't known. A new study, detailed in the Aug. 14 issue of the journal Science, suggests the effect works in capuchin monkeys, a very social species of New World monkey that lives in tight-knit groups.

Read full story.

1 comment:

Brett J said...

Interesting - thanks for posting. A couple of years back I went through some training with Keith Johnstone, where he noted (when discussing his concept of Status) that a student of his (who has since gone on to success in Hollywood) found that at all tiers of interaction (crew, cast members, producers, directors, execs, etc.), they all liked to have their statuses "met" and equalled, more than having someone grovel to them/try to lord over them. -- similar to (and a way to put-to-awareness/practice what we tend to do anyway:) the imitative tendency you mention in your post.

Outside of its likely evolutionary adaptive reason you mention, this status-matching/imitating tendency first eases communication in general, and secondly likely eases the introduction of a new idea/concept in the interaction, since the "base understanding" has been established.

This blog looks to be in general up my alley - am looking forward to poking around. Thanks!