The Impact Of Congurency Between Interaction Expectancies And Mimicry Behaviors On Cognitive Depletion And Mood In Interracial Interactions
For a variety of reasons Whites often expect negative interracial interactions. Previous research suggests that negative expectations for interracial interactions often lead to negative interaction experiences. Specifically, interracial interactions are experienced as cognitively depleting, engendering of negative affect, and devoid of behavioral mimicry"u2014a nonconscious behavior that engenders liking, and smooth, harmonious interactions. Because individuals do not expect mimicry in interracial interactions, when mimicry is present individuals experience cognitive depletion. While the majority of research has focused on how White individuals"' expectations for interracial interactions lead to self-regulatory efforts that ultimately are cognitively depleting, the present research proposes that the behaviors of one"'s interaction partner must also be considered. It was predicted that Whites who expect positive interracial interactions would not experience cognitive depletion when mimicked by a Black person, but would experience depletion when they are not mimicked. Conversely, Whites expecting a negative interracial interaction were predicted to experience cognitive depletion when mimicked by a Black person, but would not experience depletion when not mimicked. Findings revealed that the interaction between mimicry and interaction expectations on cognitive depletion was not significant. Counter to predictions, those with positive interaction expectations experienced the most cognitive depletion following an interracial interaction. Consistent with predictions, significant interactions between mimicry and interaction expectations revealed that, for those with positive expectations, not being mimicked was associated with decreased positive affect and increased negative affect. These findings suggest that mimicry in interracial interactions may not be counternormative for those who expect positive interactions, and its absence (rather than its presence) may lead to negative emotional outcomes.