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Poster B39

Neural mechanisms of BeMim: copying of choices leads to liking and temporoparietal brain activity

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Paula Wicher1 (, Antonia Hamilton2; 1UCL

Being mimicked (BeMim), the state of having your own actions copied by another person is believed to lead to liking and affiliation. To understand the neural and cognitive mechanisms behind this effect, we used fNIRS to track brain activity in two groups of participants experiencing different types of mimicry. Choice BeMim participants pointed to a painting and then saw a confederate who liked the same/different painting. Motor BeMim participants pointed to a painting and then saw a confederate make the same/different arm movement to another painting. Brain activity in the temporal and parietal cortex was recorded throughout using fNIRS. Behavioural findings demonstrated a robust liking effect for Choice BeMim, providing evidence that mimicking choices yields significant benefits in social perception. This effect was also reflected by the activation patterns within the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) during BeMim trials compared to No-BeMim trials. Additionally, we observed increased activation in the Mirror Neuron system (MNS) during Choice BeMim trials compared to the baseline and Choice No-BeMim trials. These activation patterns suggest that the MNS plays a role in interpreting the decisions of a Choice mimicker across the interaction. Conversely, for Motor BeMim, we identified a subtle behavioural liking effect with no activation in TPJ or MNS. These outcomes suggest that mimicking choices may be a more influential factor in likability judgments than mimicking motor movements.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Person perception


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April 13–16  |  2024