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Have you ever heard a lame joke but do you see everyone else laughing so you giggle too? Or lean into a conversation when there were others too? Or did you yawn after someone else yawned even though you didn’t feel drowsy?

These are examples of a common behavior called mirroring, in which people mimic gestures made by people they like. It happens all the time without people noticing. This unconscious behavior is often referred to as the chameleon effect. Some examples include mirroring someone else’s gestures, expressions, tone of voice, or posture.

Creates connections, influences attitudes

People are social beings, and mirroring can create strong connections with others and make others like and trust you more. In these situations, imitation is a form of flattery and builds a relationship with others.

In addition to mirroring gestures, people often reflect the attitudes and decisions they make after important people in their life. At a young age, people tend to adopt attitudes, gestures, and behaviors from family members and close friends. With age, the sphere of influence expands to include other important people such as teachers, religious leaders, athletes, celebrities, and politicians.

For example, you are more likely to buy a product that is used or promoted by a beloved sports figure or celebrity, or adjust your attitudes to match those of a politician or other important figure in your life. Research has shown that people respond more positively to advice from celebrities and subconsciously adjust behaviors to become more like the celebrities they admire.

These attitudes and behaviors can affect more than just your bank account. They can affect your overall health.

COVID-19 behavior

During the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease experts asked people to adopt behaviors to help slow the spread of the virus, such as: B. wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, staying at home and maintaining social distance from others. However, people’s compliance with these recommendations is influenced by compliance by others nearby, on TV, or online.

This is reminiscent of people’s youth and the desire to be part of the “in” crowd. People’s brains are wired to mirror the behavior they see so that it fits and finds acceptance. Their attitudes towards COVID-19 and their behavior to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are no different.

For example, if you’re the only person wearing a face mask to the gym or store, you are more likely to remove it. Likewise, you are more likely to have a positive attitude towards certain behavior, such as E.g. when you stay home on vacation, when supported by a favorite celebrity or other important person in your life.

To become active

Many of these behaviors or attitude changes occur unconsciously, but there are things you can do to raise your awareness and respond in helpful ways:

Research recommendations from COVID-19. Use trusted, verified sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Question your attitudes. It is helpful to take a step back and ask yourself why you are feeling this way about a particular subject. Would you continue to think the same way if some influential person in your life had a different recommendation? What things would have to happen to change your mindset?

Surround yourself with positive influencers. Are your health, happiness, and safety important to the people you allow to affect your life? If not, you may want to reassess their priority in your life. Also, examine the elements of your life that celebrities influence you. It can be okay to emulate a celebrity by buying a perfume or shoes that he or she will support but not follow his or her advice on decisions that affect your health.

Make a plan for social situations. Before you leave home, make a plan of how you will react in the situation. For example, you can choose to wear your mask regardless of the situation you are in. Practice sentences that you should use when you are under pressure to act differently, e.g. For example: “I don’t wear a mask, but I do it because it protects me and you. That is my priority at the moment.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many daily routines and traditions. It also provides an opportunity to critically evaluate how you are unconsciously influenced by others. During this time, speak to your doctor if you have any questions about slowing the spread of COVID-19 or any other element of your health and safety.

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© 2020 Mayo Clinic News Network
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