Wieber, F., Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2014). Strategic regulation of mimicry effects by implementation intentions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 53, 31-39.
Although mimicry generally facilitates social interaction, sometimes mimicry effects can hamper pursuit of focal goals. Two studies tested whether the self-regulation strategy of forming implementation intentions (i.e., planning in advance the when, where, and how of one's goal striving) can be used to regulate mimicry effects. In Study 1, implementation intentions to be non-prejudiced ensured that mimicking increased attraction even for an unlikable person. In Study 2, implementation intentions to be thrifty reduced participants' susceptibility to the persuasive effects of being mimicked. Mere goal intentions to be non-prejudiced and to be thrifty did not suffice to regulate mimicry effects. We conclude that the strategic automaticity accomplished by implementation intentions allows people to intentionally strengthen (Study 1) and weaken (Study 2) mimicry effects in line with their goals. Implications for the effective self-regulation of mimicry effects are discussed.