Explaining our decision to trust or distrust
When dealing with others, we often rely on quick non-verbal biological messages, as in mimicry (an evolved resemblance between two different organisms) to verify another person’s real emotions, intentions, empathy and trustworthiness. Psychologists, however, are still trying to understand specific processes and effects of mimicry. In this context, the EU-funded CoPAN project aims to use a novelty theoretical Tinbergian framework to explain which forms of mimicry are empathic and study their role for our decisions to trust or to distrust. Specifically, it will examine both biological and psychological factors to understand the function, mechanisms and development of mimicry. A comparative study involving bonobo, the closest relative of humans amongst apes, will enable the researcher to explain the basics of our mechanisms of prosocial behaviour.
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