Monkey See, Monkey Do: Imitation Breeds Bonding
Introduction (Via Time)
Typically, scientists use animals to study a new theory before they try it out in humans. But sometimes they go in the opposite direction, using animals to see whether certain theories apply only to humans. A new paper in Science does exactly that, investigating whether a widely documented human phenomenon — the fact that we tend to prefer people who behave the same way we do in social interactions — exists in other species.
Excerpts (Via Time)
That hypothesis certainly supports the human tendency toward reflexive imitation, a term coined in the 18th century by Adam Smith to describe the psychological act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and experiencing their feelings — you wouldn’t do that unless you were after some sort of social bond.
Mimicry “may have adaptive value,” the Dutch team concluded, “enhancing the chances of successful procreation of those members of a species who adopt this specific behavior.”