Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 235–247 | Cite as

Adult Attachment Orientation and Implicit Behavioral Mimicry

  • Natalie R. Hall
  • Abigail Millings
  • Sofia Barbosa Bouças
Brief Report


We investigated whether adult attachment orientation predicted the extent to which individuals engaged in implicit behavioral mimicry of a confederate presented by video. Results demonstrated that following an attachment threat prime: (1) those low in attachment anxiety and high in attachment avoidance showed less mimicry of face-rubbing gestures than individuals low in both attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety; (2) those high in attachment anxiety and low in attachment avoidance showed less mimicry of face-rubbing gestures than individuals low in both attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety. Importantly, attachment orientation did not predict baseline levels of face-rubbing gesturing, demonstrating that attachment orientation had an effect on mimicry rather than overall behavior expression. Attachment anxiety was positively related to attraction to the confederate such that those higher in attachment anxiety rated the confederate as more attractive. The findings are discussed with reference to both the mimicry and attachment literatures.


Implicit behavioral mimicry Adult attachment orientation Attachment anxiety Attachment avoidance Affiliation 



This research was funded by a Nuffield Foundation Social Sciences Small grant SGS36596 to Natalie Hall and Abigail Millings. The authors would like to thank Lia Emanuel and Lauren Cousins for their help with data coding.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie R. Hall
    • 1
  • Abigail Millings
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sofia Barbosa Bouças
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Psychology and Clinical Language SciencesUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Ultrasis UK Ltd.LondonUK
  3. 3.University of BristolBristolUK

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