Mimicry As A Mechanism Of Arousal Of Empathy In Children.

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dc.contributor.author Stiles, Randall James
dc.date.accessioned 2016-08-30T16:36:40Z
dc.date.available 2016-08-30T16:36:40Z
dc.date.issued 1985
dc.identifier.uri http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:dissertation&res_dat=xri:pqm&rft_dat=xri:pqdiss:8512515
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/127728
dc.description.abstract This study investigated Lipp's (1907) two-step mimicry theory of the arousal of empathy. The first step is the automatic mimicry of another's facial expressive and postural movements (motor mimicry). These movements then provide kinesthetic cues which, through afferent feedback, produce empathy. The present study casts doubt on the existence of mimicry as Lipps hypothesized. Thirty-seven white, middle-class preschool boys were tested. Half of the boys viewed an empathy stimulus film depicting a boy who loses his marbles and subsequently displays a sad facial expression. The other half saw an identifical film, except that the sad facial expression was not visible. The children's facial expressive responses throughout the film were recorded on videotape. To investigate for afferent feedback from facial expressive behavior, the children's skin conductance was monitored throughout the presentation. Videotape data indicated that facial matching (the first step in Lipps' theory) was rare in this sample of preschoolers. This result prevented a test of Lipps' complete two-step process, but suggested that such a process, if it does exist, is rare, at least among preschool boys viewing videotape stimuli. An alternative explanation of the videotape data, viz. that the empathy stimulus film was not arousing enough to elicit facial matching, was countered by evidence that the presentation elicited attention and emotional arousal in the children. Skin conductance data indicated that (non-matching) facial expressions displayed by the children did not precede and thus did not instigate autonomic arousal. This finding is relevant to the facial feedback hypothesis in current psychological literature (i.e. facial expressive behavior can instigate and augment emotional arousal), and is disconfirming of this hypothesis. Discussion of the data included the suggestion that these preschool boys may have anticipated a more intense emotional response from the boy when he discovered his marbles were lost. This anticipation might have caused relief in subjects when the boy displayed only a sad expression. Some support for this contrast hypothesis was found from the videotape and skin conductance data.
dc.format.extent 70 p.
dc.language English
dc.language.iso EN
dc.subject Arousal
dc.subject Children
dc.subject Empathy
dc.subject Mechanism
dc.subject Mimicry
dc.title Mimicry As A Mechanism Of Arousal Of Empathy In Children.
dc.type Thesis
dc.description.thesisdegreename Ph.D.
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Developmental psychology
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Psychology
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
dc.description.bitstreamurl http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/127728/2/8512515.pdf
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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