Altogether now: Activating interdependent self-construal induces hypermotor resonance
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Nonconscious mimicry (NCM) has been widely studied but the mechanisms underlying it remain unspecified. One possibility is that NCM is mediated by motor resonance (MR). If so, factors that moderate NCM may affect MR. Priming interdependent self-construal (InterSC) increases NCM. We measured MR in a cued-response task using electromyography (EMG) while participants squeezed a rubber ball hard or softly in response to colored words. Words were superimposed on videos depicting hard or soft squeezes. Words primed InterSC or independent self-construal (IndSC). When observed squeezes were incongruent with word color, reaction time (RT) slowed and EMG activity was modulated. These effects were greater for InterSC primes than IndSC primes. Participants who failed to notice any difference in the actions in the videos also showed the effect. Activating InterSC causes MR processes to become hypersensitive to observed actions, even in the absence of awareness of what the action was.
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