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Testing the relationship between mimicry, trust and rapport in virtual reality conversations

Hale, J; Hamilton, AFDC; (2016) Testing the relationship between mimicry, trust and rapport in virtual reality conversations. Scientific Reports , 6 , Article 352. 10.1038/srep35295. Green open access

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Abstract

People mimic each other’s actions and postures during everyday interactions. It is widely believed this mimicry acts as a social glue, leading to increased rapport. We present two studies using virtual reality to rigorously test this hypothesis. In Study 1, 50 participants interacted with two avatars who either mimicked their head and torso movements at a 1 or 3 second time delay or did not mimic, and rated feelings of rapport and trust toward the avatars. Rapport was higher towards mimicking avatars, with no effect of timing. In Study 2, we aimed to replicate this effect in a pre-registered design and test whether it is modulated by cultural ingroup-outgroup boundaries. Forty participants from European or East Asian backgrounds interacted with four avatars, two of European appearance and two of East Asian appearance. Two avatars mimicked while the other two did not. We found no effects of mimicry on rapport or trust ratings or implicit trust behaviour in a novel maze task, and no effects of group status or interactions. These null results were calculated in line with our pre-registration. We conclude that being mimicked does not always increase rapport or trust, and make suggestions for future directions.

Type: Article
Title: Testing the relationship between mimicry, trust and rapport in virtual reality conversations
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/srep35295
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep35295
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: science & technology, multidisciplinary sciences, science & technology - other topics, behavioral mimicry, social-interaction, emotional contagion, digital chameleons, prosocial behavior, self, environments, impact, imitation, others
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1531017
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