How money can make mimicry backfire

It's one of the first rules of persuasion: mimic subtly your conversation partner's movements and body language (with a slight delay), and they'll perceive you to be more attractive and trustworthy. Being mimicked, so long as it's not too blatant, apparently leaves us in a better mood and more likely to be helpful to others.

It all sounds so easy, but now Jia Liu and her colleagues have thrown a spanner in the works. They've demonstrated that reminders of money reverse the benefits of mimicry - leading mimics to be liked less, and the mimicked to feel threatened. It all has to do with the selfish, egocentric mindset triggered by money.

Read more on our Research Digest.