Because mirroring is so efficient and useful to us, it should naturally happen across all people in equal proportions and remain consistent across time, but this is far from true. While differences in connectivity happen between various groups of people or cliques, we also feel more connectivity to certain individuals within a group. Therefore, mirroring will have various strengths across various pairings. Over time our goals and needs change too, and so too do our opinions and ideals. So as we develop, our relationships to people also change. The level of rapport we feel with another person affects the level of mirroring, and a lack of liking can even stop mirroring dead. There are many factors that affect mirroring or lack thereof such as inward versus outward looking people, high versus low self monitors, and the goals desired. If mirroring should suddenly turn cold or fail to start at all, we should be aware of possible explanation just in case it is something we can control or fix.
Inward looking people are those that define themselves specifically by virtues or characteristics attributed directly to them. Inward looking people call themselves intelligent, tall or friendly. Outward looking people, on the other hand, create their identity by their social role, the groups they belong to, their friends and relationships. Someone who sees themselves outwardly will say they are a daughter, a mother of a son, an aunt and the coach of a soccer team. Outward looking people will also be more likely to affiliate with others, and will therefore tend to partake much more in mirroring. Inward looking people will be found to resist mirroring, and extremely inward looking people can even become uncomfortable with mirroring. Extreme inward looking people who wish to maintain their identity will show their discomfort by consistently modifying their body positions to become different than their counterparts so as to clearly maintain a line of separation.
Mirroring is also affected by another personality trait called the desire to “self monitor.” Self monitoring is defined as the desire or ability to regulate oneself to fit into any given environment. “High self monitors” are more likely to change their behaviour in lieu of the situation and seem to be less consistent across context. This personality type is more likely to mirror others. “Low self monitors” are just the opposite, and remain pretty much the same across most situations. They don’t tend to feed off others or try to please them by acting differently in order to fit in. They seem less interested in “belonging” to groups and seem hold the same values across settings. Naturally, this type of person tends to mirror others much less.
The final reason for mirroring inhibition stems from having different goals. When ideas differ we want to send a clear message that our minds don’t agree. Mirroring under perceived disagreement can become particularly discomforting and put people on edge. Testing general agreement without using risky verbal dialogue can be done by mirroring our counterpart and verifying the degree to which they accept imitation. If they quickly adopt new postures, than there’s a good chance that they disagree.
Mirroring is reserved for those that are highly motivated to get along with others due to their personality traits coupled with the rewards that are in it for them in particular.