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June 30, 2011

Secret behind imitation

Don’t we imitate or copy each others at all? Let’s ask this question to ourselves. A lot of times, we hear typical sentence that an individual makes e. g. “If I couldn’t match with pace and manners of world or people around me, I would be left behind or rejected.” Such kind of sentence may repeatedly boom in our heads just because the fear of getting lagged behind or left all alone has been hard coded in our unconscious minds. Why exactly imitation came into existence in the first place?

Imitation makes every person look alike.

Amazingly, human race is the most imitating land dwelling species. For achieving seemingly impossible to other creatures, our ancestors had to work together and imitate each other as much as possible. One initiated something on its own, reaped some benefits from the same and the others followed, mimicked or imitated the individual, almost mechanically.

Imitating is to perform, maneuver, behave, express, act and gesticulate like other individual. That’s it! We have defined it so simply but it’s not over yet. The next question comes into out mind is that why exactly imitation has been hardcoded into our genes. It's really harder to believe but imitation has to do with survival.

Our tribal ancestors talked in same language or dialect, adapt same mannerism, followed same methods, built same types of houses, painted or decorated bodies, used same weapons or tools and created sounds alike. All these things gave them strength to stand against their predators and rival tribes also. It happens even today!

In today's modern technological world, living is quite easy as compared to what it was thousands and millions years ago. Our ancestors used to leave in jungles while facing dramatic and dangerous conditions. Their entire life was surrounded by fiercest predators lurking behind trees, bushes or tall grass.

Like the predators, there were rival tribes competing, fighting and even killing over resources and geographical territories. In the result of the same, living alone was the greatest risk to life of an individual. Only solution was to live in small clans, closer to other clans and form a tribe.

We often watch a terrifying scene on television channels showing a predator hunting down a prey to eat. The apex predator like lion chases a stag, grabs and kills it to death. Despite of power, speed and tactics; almost all predators can concentrate on just single prey at a time and not the whole herd.

Predators choose a prey that isolated from its herd and most importantly - physically weaker. On the other hand, coming together, appearing and acting like each other multiply chances of survival. Hence preys in herds adapt dramatic strategy that defend them against predators.

They stand together, stay very close to each other, move at same speed, move in same direction, make loud noise together, synchronize their body movements and make same kind of gestures or expressions. Ultimately, a whole group appears like a single larger and powerful creature.

The confused, baffled, overpowered and visually overwhelmed predator can only think about finding another solitary, small and weak prey elsewhere rather than wasting time and energy to hunt nothing and most importantly - avoid getting killed in the process.

Perhaps, the mimic octopus is the master of disguise, deception and camouflage which can rapidly match body colors, patterns, textures and behaviors of other creatures to save itself in the open ocean filled with the variety of predators.

Imitation or copying each other's body language is one of greatest evolutionary gifts. Human race has done a lot of progress only through copying or imitating each other.

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1) Why we copy each other's body language? 2) Dominance 3) Facial Feedback: World smiles with you!

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