Monday, June 24, 2024

'Imitation is the Highest form of Flattery'


    The phrase, 'imitation is a form of flattery' is pretty common. I've heard it while venting to friends whenever someone I know has copied my outfit, my nail color choices, my accessories, you name it. I've shared that phrase with my friends too, when they've faced the same. 

    However, imitation as I've recently learned, goes much further than copying a pair of shoes or a handbag. According to Rosenblum, "On a largely unconscious level, you are always imitating people. You can't help it."   

   Now, this is also different from imitating an interesting accent we hear on TV, or mimicking a broadway tune we enjoy. These are conscious choices we make to copy what we've just seen. The imitation that Rosenblum emphasizes is one I'd never heard of, but is responsible for what's called the 'chameleon effect'. Which means, the unconscious tendency to mimic other people. (Rosenblum, 2010)

    While the conscious mimicry can come across as either insulting, or as a true form of flattery, the unconscious mimicry increases connections and allows us to better interact with those around us. 

    I did find an interesting article in Psychology Today about the chameleon effect that mentioned that the more empathetic a person is, the more likely they are to mimic other people. (Degges-White, 2023) 

     So, if you find yourself wondering why someone is imitating you, take rest in knowing that it may in fact, be a form of flattery! 


- Luci


Rosenblum, L. D. (2010). See What I'm Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses. W.W. Norton & Company 

 Degges-White, S. (2023, December 21). The Chameleon Effect: Why We Mirror Friends and Lovers. Psychology Today. Retrieved from 







1 comment:

  1. Hey Luci! The topic of imitation has also interetsed me, and I love that you choose to write about it. I also us the saying "imitation is the highest form of flattery" beacuse it makes me feels better when I know someone has copied my idea. Although I may not like when other copy me, now I know I do it to, wheter I mean to or not.