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Navigating from live to virtual social interactions: looking at but not manipulating smartphones provokes a spontaneous mimicry response in the observers.

Authors
  • Maglieri, Veronica1
  • Riccobono, Marco Germain1
  • Giunchi, Dimitri1
  • Palagi, Elisabetta1
  • 1 Unit of Ethology, Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Via A. Volta 4, 56126 Pisa, Italy. , (Italy)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of ethology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
Volume
39
Issue
3
Pages
287–296
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10164-021-00701-6
PMID: 33897086
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

By gathering data on people during their ordinary daily activities, we tested if looking at, but not manipulating, smartphones led to a mimicry response in the observer. Manipulating and looking at the device (experimental condition), more than its mere manipulation (control condition), was critical to elicit a mimicry response in the observer. Sex, age and relationship quality between the experimenter and the observer had no effect on the smartphone mimicry response that tended to decrease during social meals. Due to the role of food as a tool in increasing social affiliation, it is possible that during communal eating, people engage in other forms of mimicry involving facial expressions and postures rather than the use of objects. Understanding the ethological mechanisms of the use of smartphones at everyday-social scale could unveil the processes at the basis of the widespread/increasing use of these devices at a large scale. The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10164-021-00701-6. © The Author(s) 2021.

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