Jaroslaw R. Lelonkiewicz

PhD Psychology


Imitation is pervasive in social interactions. Even in brief conversations, people spontaneously copy each other's language (e.g., words) and motor behaviour (e.g., hand movements). In my PhD research, I'm trying to determine what mechanisms are responsible for this puzzling propensity to imitate. My studies investigate three different candidate mechanisms: (1) imitation in language results from covert simulation of the interlocutor's speech, (2) imitation in language is driven by the goal to affiliate with other people, (3) motor imitation is driven by anticipation and adaptation to the observed actions.


Lelonkiewicz, J.R. & Gambi, C. (2016). Spontaneous adaptation explains why people act faster when being imitated. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. doi:10.3758/s13423-016-1141-3

Lelonkiewicz, J.R., Pickering, M.J., & Branigan, H.P. (submitted). The benefits of being a conversational chameleon: Lexical imitation boosts evaluation of an interaction and encourages cooperation.

Lelonkiewicz, J.R., Pickering, M.J., & Rabagliati, H. (submitted). The role of language production in making predictions during comprehension.

Morey, C.C., Mareva, S., Lelonkiewicz, J.R., & Chevalier, N. (2017). Gaze-based rehearsal in children under 7: A developmental investigation of eye movements during a serial spatial memory task. Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/desc.12559


Martin Pickering (Lead)

Holly Branigan

Hugh Rabagliati  

Research summary

Imitation, Prediction in Language, Joint Action