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Why we copy each other's body language?

We walk in restaurant or cafe and spot a couple sitting in corner, intimately gazing towards each other and resonating facial expressions. In a bar, two friends stand next to of each other adopting same postures. In a local park, briskly walking senior citizens match their pace with each other along. In office, two close colleagues defend each other with quite identical gesticulations in front of their superior. Unconsciously, one person adopts posture, gesticulates or expresses emotion on face and other follows or matches up with it.

Copying or matching with body language of others is called as Mirroring or Movement Synchronization. Prof. Dr. David B. Givens (Director of Center of Nonverbal Studies in Spokane, United States of America) coined scientific term called as ISOPREXIMCS for this unique behavior.

It’s quite interesting to know the secret behind it that is deeply rooted inside our brain. Mirror Neurons in premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, primary somatosensory cortex, and the inferior parietal cortex allows us to observe, empathize, and imitate other person. Even mirror neurons induce same emotions and feelings in our mind sighting other person or group if we have certain degree of attachment with.

Unconsciously, we like the persons who moves, behaves or expresses alike ourselves. We feel safe and nurtured when other person complements us, shares our distress and delights and makes us feel better about ourselves. After all, it’s about forming relationship and staying in it. Mirroring is evident to uniform feeling, understanding, thinking, planning, and persuasion.

You may find children are quite smart to mirror parents for venting their anger and win favor or attention. In performing arts like dance, singing or playing instruments or exercising, synchronization creates mesmerizing effect.

However, conscious mirroring is good for convincing or sympathizing only in appropriate situations and at proper degree. It’s not useful if the initiating person becomes aware of it and express distress. Read this interesting conclusions by a researcher at University of California, San Diego.

Not only humans but animals and birds also do mirror each other to form strong bonding among themselves. In fact, secret behind mirroring in human has been discovered after doing research on monkeys since they share identical genetic profile with us.

Do watch interesting presentation delivered by Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran (Professor of Behavioral Neurology and Psychoanalysis, University of California, United States of America) at TED on discovery and function of Mirror Neurons.

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