The Art of Persuasion

Posted on February 16, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Psychology, Sales |

Carey, Benedict. “You Remind Me of Me.” New York Times. 12 Feb. 2008: D1.

This New York Times article discusses how teams of psychologists around the world have been measuring social interaction involved in developing rapport.

When we bond with people we are getting to know and like, we often subconsciously mimic them. If they cross their legs, a few minutes later we cross our legs. If they speak loudly, we speak loudly. We may even pick up on each other’s accents.

Benedict Carey’s article delves into how there are subtleties to mimicry. Just copying the other person’s behavior doesn’t automatically build rapport. It has to be done in the right way.

His article also describes how Dr. Jeremy Bilenson at Stanford University (Virtual Human Interaction Lab) tested mimicry with a computer-generated avatar, moderating how “in sync” the avatar was with human subjects.

Benedict Carey writes about how Robin Tanner and Tanya Chartrand, psychologists at Duke, performed tests that could be correlated to sales and marketing. Mimicry could improve your bottom line. (Tanner, Robin, et al., “Of Chameleons and Consumption: The Impact of Mimicry on Choice and Preferences,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27 Aug. 2007)

He also relates some of Dr. Jean Decety’s work (Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Chicago) on human empathy to mimicry.

Read Benedict Carey’s very interesting article at


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