The art and science of mirroring
My husband and his father were talking in the kitchen when I walked into the room. I’ll always remember that sight: they were sitting at the table, mirror images of one another. Both men were leaning back with their hands behind their heads and their elbows wide apart, and both had their legs loosely crossed. They were deeply engrossed in conversation—totally oblivious to the physical postures they had assumed. I didn’t have to overhear what they were saying to realize that (at that moment) father and son were in total rapport!
We all do it. It’s called limbic synchrony, and it’s hardwired into the human brain.
Babies do it even before birth; their heartbeats and body functions take on a rhythm that matches those of their mothers. As adults, we do it when we are talking with someone we like, are interested in, or agree with. We subconsciously switch our body posture to match that of the other person – mirroring that person’s nonverbal behavior and signaling that we are connected and engaged.