What is mimicry and what is it for? Application

In the world of animals and plants, mimicry fulfills several functions. First of all, it will be associated with other forms of defense against natural enemies. What a mimicry is depends largely on the type of mimicry involved. Mimicking animals is usually defensive, in the case of plants it is sexual mimicry. An entirely different concept is molecular mimicry, which involves the resemblance of the genes of bacteria and viruses to the genes of the host. The phenomenon of mimicry in humans, in turn, is a term associated with a particular type of mental behavior of an individual.

Mimicry is a very diverse concept, covering different areas of life: from the behavior of plants and animals, through the genetic aspects that determine the development of autoimmune diseases, to social imitation, and thus the automatic tendency to resemble the environment of people living in it.

Psychological problems

What is mimicry?

Mimicry in the world of animals (mainly insects) is a phenomenon where one species starts to resemble another. There are two basic forms of this agreement:

  • Batesian mimicry – making vulnerable species similar to those capable of defending themselves, eg the ospian sight (an insect of the order of butterflies) resembles a wasp;
  • Müllerian mimicry – making two types of animals capable of defense similar to each other; This similarity means that by the time a predator learns to distinguish between two species, a smaller percentage of each species will die than if the predator hunts only one species and can easily distinguish it from other species, for example wasps, cockroaches, various species of bees and gold-leaved rings of the order.

To others examples of mimicry in animals includes:

  • the imitation of the cuckoo, which in the first period tries to remain unrecognizable by its adoptive parents;
  • octopus mimic that can mimic the colors, shape, and behavior of flounder and sea snakes.

In the case of plants, one can speak of Wawiłow .’s mimicrymaking weeds look like arable crops. A separate problem is: sexual impersonation flowers resemble female pollinating insects.

Mimicry – what does it mean in genetics?

Molecular mimicry is one of the main factors determining the pathogenicity of microorganisms and determine the development of some autoimmune diseases. It is a strategy that allows pathogens to enter the body and act on a target cell. The structural, serological and functional similarity of bacteria to some tissues of higher organisms (in this case, humans) allows them to spiral out of control in the immune system. This allows pathogens to freely develop and function in the body, causing serious immune diseases such as: myasthenia gravis, ankylosing arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and Graves’ disease.

Antigen mimicry the parasite mainly consists of altering the surface antigens or absorbing the host antigens into its own surface structures. In this way, the parasite becomes virtually invisible to the body’s defense mechanisms, often leading to tolerance of the parasite (e.g. trichomoniasis).

Mimicry – the psychology of imitation

Mimicry in humans is a common phenomenon. Some psychologists even believe that it determines the possibility of communication between people and the formation of social groups through them.

Mimicry in psychology is associated with the chameleon effectthat is, an involuntary and automatic tendency to resemble the people a particular person associates with. The mimicry can concern very different elements:

  • facial expressions,
  • gestures,
  • way of speaking,
  • general behavior,
  • social beliefs,
  • behaviors.

In humans, the mimicry mechanism is associated with exactly the same needs as in the animal world. Imitation both in nature and in the human world provides tangible benefits in terms of safety. Already in the first hours of life, a person begins to learn to synchronize, which opens the way to relationships with others.

Mimicry in psychology is a term for imitating and synchronizing behavior with other people, which brings many social benefits, including:

  • building deeper, more satisfying relationships with others,
  • awaken a sense of connection between people,
  • increase in trust between them.

The benefits that are evoked stem from the fact that a person has a greater willingness to sympathize with someone who behaves like them. Such people are also more willing to help. In a world built on the foundation of social relationships, it’s hard to imagine a lack of trust, security, and belonging.

Main photo source: Mikolette/Getty Images

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