Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Benefit of Improvisation, Mirroring

One of the basic tools of creating improv scenes is mirroring. This is where one actor copies another actor in voice, rhythm, posture, etc. It's useful for creating an instantaneous connection between characters. The skill is also important in creating friendship in the real world:
Affiliation ratings were compared for an experimenter who either (a) tapped to a metronome that was synchronous to the participant's metronome, (b) tapped to a metronome that was asynchronous, or (c) did not tap. As hypothesized, in both studies, the degree of synchrony predicted subsequent affiliation ratings. Experiment 3 found that the affiliative effects were unique to interpersonal synchrony.
It can even make you more caring in general:
This suggests that mimicry created an affective empathic mindset, which activated prosocial behaviors directed toward others.
Speaking of mirroring, I'm pulling a double header at the improv theater tonight, at both 8pm and 9:30pm (free). Here are my two previous posts on the practical benefits of improvisation.

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