Neurobiology of Language -
Does copying your partner's language make them like you?
More specifically, we tested whether alignment of sentence structures (syntactic alignment) automatically increases when participants have the goal to be liked by their partner. At the same time, we also tested whether syntactic alignment actually leads to increased perceived likeability, as reported by the speaker's conversation partner. Contrary to our expectations, we did not find any evidence to support the idea that the more speakers want to be liked by their conversation partner, the more they (unconsciously) align their syntactic choices with their partner's syntactic choices. Even more, in two out of the three groups of participants, we found evidence that speakers who aligned more with their partner were evaluated as less likeable by their partner. In other words, our results are not in line with the flirting tips on the internet: we did not find evidence that copying another person's language behavior (their sentence structures) increases the chance that they will like you!
The full report of this study can be read here: