Neuropsychology Automatic Imitation


Neuropsychology:Automatic Imitation

Neuropsychology:Automatic Imitation


Theautomatic imitation that s caused by action observation influence thecorresponding areas of primary motor cortices and the premotor. Theactivation of such hypothesis is based on the visual-motorinteractions and connections that that established throughcorrelation of skills in observing as well as executing similaractions. This paper aims at using the participants who were closefriends, family members, or acquaintances of the experimenter to helpin completing the test. All participants were asked to play 40 roundsof the rock-paper scissors game with the experimenter. Theexperimenter always played with his or her eyes closed to prevent himor her from imitating the participant. The participant played withhis other eyes closed for half of the rounds in order to provide abaseline measure of how often the experimenter and participant chosethe same gesture by chance and with his eyes open for half of therounds. This is a way of measuring how often the participant chosethe same gesture as the experimenter due to imitation. The gestureschosen by the experimenter and the participant were recorded, andanalyzed to see how many times the participant and experimenter chosethe same gesture. As a result, the participants chose the samegesture as the experimenter more often when their eyes are open thanwhen their eyes are closed. These confirmed the previous researchshowing that people imitate others’ actions even in competitivecontexts. It was also expected that close friends or family membersimitate the experimenter more often than acquaintances. Previousresearch using non-competitive contexts shows that the more connectedpeople feel to their interaction partners, the more likely they areto imitate them. This study will contribute to ongoing investigationsby showing that this effect occurs in competitive contexts as well.

Variousstudies and critical thinkers perceive automatic imitation the fastactions that occur when a stimulus is allowed to replicate where theyeither match the command with visual stimulus due to theircompatibility. Otherwise, the commands does not match with the visualstimulus in the imitation of they are incompatible. However, theautomatic imitation is perceived to be mediated by the neuron mirrorsystems to be a laboratory framework of the mimicry occurringspontaneously in a particular social interaction. Both imitative andspatial compatibilities depend on various stimulus dimensionsincluding spatial positions and topographical body movement.Unfortunately, it is unclear whether both types of stimuluscompatibility effects are mediated by either similar or differentcognitive processes (Arnottet al., 2009).The needs to understand the mental states and actions of the livingthings surrounding us is of greatest interest as a way of ensuringeffecting interactions in the single societal world. The studiesconducted across the aspects of neuroimaging, behavioural, andneuropsychological research suggests common representational codesthat mediates the planning, observation, or execution of the actions.For instance, Darwin (1965) provides the notions that common codes inthe behavioural actions manifest into the automatic imitationincluding the tendency by the healthy adults to automatically ofunintentionally reproduce the observed actions. However, this paperaims at reporting various notions learnt during the research studyconducted to address the automatic imitation context.

Itis factual that the mirror system in the brain links the perceptionand action, as discussed by Iacoboni and others (2005). The authorsfound out that the behavioural contexts where the actions wereembedded are the ones that modulated the activation of motor mirrorareas in the humanitarian brain. Other previous studies haveestablished that people imitate the gestures of others automaticallyespecially the ones who have interactive relationships.

Recentresearch showed that this is true even in a competitive context, suchas the rock-paper-scissors game, where imitation is a suboptimalstrategy.

Imitationis thought to occur because watching someone perform an actionactivates similar areas in the brain as performing that actionyourself, leading you to automatically perform that same action.However, people do not imitate everyone all the time. This studyattempts to investigate the social factors that influence whether ornot people imitate their interaction partners in competitivecontexts. In particular, this study asks whether the interpersonalrelationship between interactions that influences imitation behavior.


Inorder to accomplish the study, the method of study used included thegeneral linear model where all data of participants were collected.Such method helped in determining various within subject factors suchas blindness and slightness. The between-subject factors were alsoconsidered such as closeness or acquaintance. In addition, thedescriptive statistics were analyzed clearly and deeply that werehelpful in conducting the tests. Multivariate tests were conducted totest the effectiveness of the observed actions including measuringthe effects of blindness and the way they are related on humanresponses as demonstrated in Figure 1. The participants followed aclear procedure in order to receive the required results that arehelpful in getting the best results to solve the subjected problem bythe study.

Eachmember of the class will invite four people to participate in thestudy using the “Invitation to Participate in a Research Study”letter. Two should be close friends or family members, and two shouldbe acquaintances such as classmates. Record the age and gender ofyour participants as well as the category of their relationship tosuch as close friend or acquaintance on the sheet provided. You aregoing to play a short game of “rock, paper, scissors” (RPS) witheach participant. See the procedure below for the specific details ofhow the game will be played.

Beforecollecting the data, present the Consent Form to the participant andgo through its contents with them. If they agree to participate, havethose sign TWO copies of the form one copy for them, and one copyfor the experimenter. After the test is completed, present thedebriefing form to the participant and go through it with them. Oneonly needs one copy of this form. If a participant chooses towithdraw from the study, collection of data must stop immediately,and all data collected from that participant must be destroyed inorder to protect his future or present disclosure of his or herconfidential information. It is good to note that most of thepersonal data collected is protected from any disclosure to the thirdparty, whatsoever.

Theprocedure for the RPS game is as follows. You will play a total of 40rounds of RPS. The experimenting agent or rather the experimentermust always choose the participants’ gesture such as rock, paper,or scissors at random. For the first 20 rounds, both the participantand the experimenter will choose the gestures with his or her eyesclosed. After each round, open the eyes and record the gesture chosenby each person, then record R for rock, P for paper, or S forscissors in columns 2 and 3. The columns should be labeled“Experimenter gesture” and “Participant gesture,”respectively of the “Lab 1 Data Recording Sheet.” For the second20 rounds, the experimenter will choose his or her gestures with theeyes closed, but one should instruct the participant to play the gamewith their eyes open. After each round, open the eyes and record thegesture chosen by each person in columns 6 and 7. These columnsshould be labeled “Experimenter gesture” and “Participantgesture,” respectively on the “Lab 1 Data Recording Sheet.”After completing all 40 rounds, debrief the participant.

Afterone has collected the data, code the data into wins including paperbeats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper and draws, bothpeople chose the same action. In columns 4 and 8 of the data sheet,record a +1 if the participant won, a -1 if the experimenter won, anda 0 if it was a draw (i.e., both people chose the same gesture).Then, separately for rounds 1-20 and rounds 21-40, calculate thepercentage of rounds in which the experimenter won including thenumber of rounds coded at -1 divided by the total number of roundsplayed. This should be equal 20 where the participant won the numberof rounds coded as +1 divided by 20, and a draw occurred (the numberof rounds coded as 0 divided by 20). Record these values on the linesbelow columns 4 and 8. Transfer the relevant data to the excel filelabeled “Lab1DataEntrySheet.xlsx” In other words, the totalnumber of participants was 38 people and each person played with 4other persons but the data was analyzed collectively.


Thestatistics of the 38 participants were collected and valuescalculated. The participants who acted as blinds had a mean of 32.4for the close relationships and 34.5 for the acquaintance. Thesighted participants had a mean of 39.1 for the close relatives whileacquaintance had 34.9 for the acquaaintance. The Multivariate testsconducted gave favorable results since they were aimed at providingthe effects of influential relationships. For instance, theblindsighted without the relationships had an imitation value of0.065 and decreases to 0.52 after incorporating the relationships.For the Mauchly`sTest of Sphericity, it tested the error covariance that demostratedthat the within-subject relationships has no imitation effects sincethe values of high and lower bound blidnness remains intact.


Whencontrasting the withing-subject and between-subject realationships,it is evident that within-subject relationships has a greater impact since theur reduces the sum of squares when an interaction is closelycorrelated. It means the positive interaction plays a major role ininfluencing the imitation, especially when an action is observed. Variousscholars have conducted their own research studies to affirm thataction observations are a major influence in activating thecorresponding motor representatives through behavioral functions. Assuch, the researchers demonstrate their studies using the effects ifautomatic imitation of movement compatibility. One of the approachesto study this phenomenon is using a very easy reaction-time taskwhere one is asked to conduct finger movement test including tappingor lifting as a response to the video stimuli that shows eithertapping or lifting the finger. Various scholars use such studies tojustify that a person responds faster when the response movements andstimulus are similar or compatible as compared to the incompatiblestimulus. In another reaction time task, the participant were askedto close or open their hands when the color of the hand image changedcolor. As such, they responded very fast to the compatibleexperiments, especially when the response and stimulus movements weresimilar as compared to the incompatible trials (Dimberget al., 2000).Such effects on these tests justify that the actions of observationsfacilitates or promotes the imitation, implementation of the observedactions, and facilitates automation of the actions. Such notionssuggest that people automatically imitate others’ actions evenwithout conscious awareness, despite having negative consequences asdiscussed by Cook and others (2012).

Itis also factual to say that various motivational metrics influencesthe automatic imitation among the individuals. For instance, one canimitate his or her mentors and the ones whose actions or behaviorsare beneficial. Lakin and Chartrand (2003) explain various aspectsthat illustrate the way people create rapport of affiliation usingnon-conscious behavioral mimicry. These authors evidenced thatmimicry contributes to a direct connection between perceiving andperforming a behavior of another person. In their studies, theyconducted various tests and experiments to explore whether having asimilar goal with the affiliates influence the tendencies to imitatethe partners’ behaviors. Such studies provide notions that it isautomatic that people imitate those people whom they would like to beaffiliated including mentors or inspirers. Moreover, Stel and others(2010) adds value on this notion by asserting that the mimicry andpro-social feelings are directly related to the positive influence.Their experiments showed that there is more mimicry on in-grouprelationships than in the out-group relations. According to theirsuggestions, it is proven that the link between the liking andmimicry some behaviors are automatically imitated even where thereare inconsistent mimicry behaviors but is driven by ones motivationsand goals. Other scholars such as Yabal, et al (2006) also providedsimilar notions that demonstrated that implicit liking of the targetgroups predicts the behavioral imitation of the group member. Assuch, the behavioral mimicry including gestures, mannerisms, andpostures of interacting partners influence the automatic imitation ofa person.

Otherpeople perceive the imitation as a rewarding concepts since theyadopt the behaviors that are mostly beneficial to their life. Kuhn etal. (2010) conducted a social development and psychological studyperceived that the imitation of behavioral actions serves as afundamental social benefits and functions to an individual. The studydemonstrates that human beings are used to mirror other people’sbehaviors through automatic imitation as it leads to the positivefeelings and psychological satisfaction towards the imitatingsubject. The study shows that imitating another person’s actions orbehaviors activates the brain areas, which is associated with rewardsand emotional processing areas such as ventromedial prefrontalcortex, among others. Such notions provide formidable and clearevidence those automatic imitation results to beneficial metricstowards the people who automatically mirror the behaviors of otherpeople.

Thereare various notions that the scholars, researchers, and otherlearners do not know about the automatic imitation. For instance,imitating other people’s behaviors or actions despite the negativeconsequences is yet to be replicated. There is no evidence thatproves that imitating other people’s behaviors with negativeimplications is beneficial to the individuals. According to Cook andothers (2012), it is unclear to prove that the automatic imitation isboth involuntary and re-flexible. In addition, there are noformidable notions to prove whether the positive effects characterizethe imitational effects. As such, there has been the needs toinvestigate whether the imitative responses has strategic context,especially where the payoffs are reduced. In regards to such notions,various studies unearthed that automatic imitation are mostlybeneficial in the context where they reduce payoffs in order tochallenge the physical aspects existing in the social interactions.In addition, no fundamental study that conclusively prove that theimitating motivations influence the automatic affiliations,especially in the competitive contexts.

Thereis important information about automatic imitation that severallearners do not understand. A good example is the explicit knowledgeabout the way mirror neurons work in monkeys. The neurons existing inthe monkey’s premotor cortex discharges actions when a monkeyobserves or performs an action that is similarly done by anothermonkey. Samesingle neurons fire when the monkey performs an action and observessomeone else perform the action (Rizzolatti et al., 1996).

Similarly,the mirror systems in the humans are also evoked when observingactions. The human beings stimulate the motor cortex of the subjectswhen they observe. As such, their muscles are evoked by the actionsafter observing the actions of the subjected movements. Theexperiments done by Fadigaand others (1995) demonstrated that the mirror system of the humanshas a capability of matching the actions observed and the onesexecuted. In other words, the muscle activity in humans are involvedin performing actions is also evoked when observing actions (Fadigaet al., 1995).

Inother perspectives, observingactions by human beings elicits similarly somatotopically organizedbrain activity as performing actions (Buccino et al., 2000). Buccinoand others used the functional magnetic resonance imaging in order tolocalize the brain fields that are active when observing the actionsdone by another person. The object and non-objected actions madethrough distinct effectors were used or presented to determine thesomatotopically organized activations of the human’s pre-motorcortex. However, the results of such experiment give the previousconcepts of the observation or execution marching systems or themirror system into deeper perspectives. The study also demonstratesthat the mirror system is not restricted or degraded into the ventralpremotor cortex, although it involves several somatotopically motorcircuits that are organized together.

Inanother aspect, other scholars argue that the human brains simulateto making actions, especially when someone observe others performingan action. The acquired motor skills are used to test such notionssince every person differ with one another in performing the actionsthat they have learnt by enumerating others (Calvo-Merino et al.,2005). Calvo-Merino and his colleagues accomplished the study ofproving such notions using the expert dancers to learn about theirbrain activity by comparing their dance style with other styles usedpreviously. Their study revealed the influence of motor expertise,especially on the action observation. The results showed that themirror system integrates the actions being observed from other peoplewith the personal motor repertoire. Such notions suggest that themotor simulation is the only feature in human beings that helps himor her brain to understand the observed actions.


Inconclusion, the experiment and the tests conducted in the study havesimilar notions that the observed actions have a greater chance ofbeing imitated. The discussed literal studies have shown that peopleautomatically imitate the gestures of other individual with whom theyhave close interactions. The recently researched arguments in variousresearches also showed that this is true even in a competitivecontext, such as the rock-paper-scissors game, where imitation is asuboptimal strategy. Imitation is thought to occur because watchingsomeone perform an action activates similar areas in the brain asperforming that action yourself, leading you to automatically performthat same action. However, people do not imitate everyone all thetime. The study has established that even social factors includingclose relationships also influence the automatic imitation in thecompetitive contexts. The specific hypothesis of whether theinterpersonal relationship between the close people influencesimitation behavior has demonstrated the positive results from thestudy.

Furthermore,this neuropsychological study has demonstrated that the commonrepresentational codes that mediated the observation as well as theexecution of the actions. The important aspects that influence theautomatic imitation is the observation and the interactions, asevidenced in this study. It does not matter whether the mirror systemhas positive or negative effects but provided they demonstrate theconstituent movements for a person to respond.



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Readings11 and 12 provide evidence that people imitate others to whom theyare already bonded.

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