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Mimicry Plus Power is a Toxic Brew that Undermines Authenticity
Past research has explored mimicary and its positive effects on relationships, performance, and negotiation, indicating that mimicry increased affection and trust toward the mimicker. Yet, how people experience being a mimicker and the cost of being one have not been fully documented. We conducted three experiments and one correlation study investigating the impact of mimicry on a mimicker’s sense of authenticity and general world view. We found that mimicking reduced feelings of authenticity in social interactions (Study 1) and in negotiation contexts, especially for individuals who have a high sense of power (Study 2) or who were primed with high power (Studies 3 &4). In Study 4, we found that mimicking increased Machiavellianism through a reduced feeling of authenticity only for people in the high-power condition. Our findings suggest that utilizing mimicry may elicit backlash for mimickers with high power and may not be a good fit for all.