The Effect of Procedural Fairness and Status-Conflict on Mimicking or Complementing Nonverbal Behavior
Posted: 22 May 2010
In situations of conflict, people not only attend to the verbal behaviors of others, but also to their nonverbal expressions. While these expressions can have a big impact on the conflict and its outcomes, there is little research on how people react to other’s nonverbal expressions, and how this affects their own behaviors. Two different lines of research have shown that people often mimic nonverbal behaviors of others and that they often complement behaviors of others. But when do people complement and when do they mimic? Previous research already demonstrated that status cues influence whether people mimic or complement (Mastop et al., 2009). In the current article we extended this research and investigated whether obtaining a high status position via a fair or unfair procedure influences the extent to which this person is mimicked or complemented. Participants learned that a target person obtained a high status position via a fair or unfair procedure. Then, participants watched a video of this person displaying dominant or submissive behavior and we measured whether this behavior was mimicked or complemented. Results showed that participants mimicked more than they complemented when status was obtained fair than when it was obtained unfair, independent of displayed behavior in the video.
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