abstract Sukhvinder Obhi

Sukhvinder Obhi (Social Brain, Body and Action Lab, Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience & Department of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada)

From lab to pub: Motor resonance in action observation and social mimicry

A wealth of research from Cognitive Neuroscience has shown that motor areas of an observer′s brain become active when they watch another person acting (i.e., motor resonance). In addition, social psychologists have studied social mimicry, the tendency to mimic the gestures and bodily expressions of an interaction partner, and have revealed many intriguing findings surrounding this social phenomenon. Many people believe that motor resonance, as studied in highly constrained lab environments, underlies social mimicry others in social settings, but direct evidence for this has been lacking. Here I present data from a series of exploratory studies showing that there is indeed a link between the motor resonant processes that cognitive neuroscientist′s study in the lab, and the social phenomena that social psychologists study in more naturalistic contexts. I will also present data on how individual differences in various psychological characteristics influence the degree of motor resonance that an individual exhibits. My hope is to convey the utility of combining cognitive neuroscience techniques with social psychological approaches, to increase the scope of questions that can be addressed.