Evaluating Social Mimicry

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Updated on Oct 30, 2011

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science

This experiment will evaluate the suggestibility of males versus females in copying the actions of those around them.

  • Is one gender more likely to unintentionally mimic the actions they observe in a social setting?

During normal social interactions, most people will unintentionally mimic the actions of those around them. This experiment will observe social mimicry in action and evaluate whether men or women are more likely to imitate others.

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Notebook for recording results
  • A volunteer
  • 15 male and 15 female test subjects

  1. Recruit a volunteer to help you set up a scenario that will be used with each test subject. In this scenario, your volunteer should approach the selected man or woman and pretend to be taking a short survey. While interacting with the test subject, the volunteer should scratch his or her nose, cough, and tap his or her leg at multiple, pre-defined points during the interaction with the test subject.
  2. Be sure to practice so that your volunteer performs the same actions for the same amount of time during each “survey.”
  3. Observe the interaction between your volunteer and each test subject.
  4. Record how many times each test subject mimics the actions of the volunteer.
  5. Analyze your results. Calculate the average number of times women mimic the volunteer during the survey. How does this number compare to the average number of times that men mimic your volunteer?

Terms/Concepts: social mimicry

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