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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Humans have a natural affinity for conformity and coordination that is essential to culture, to groups, and to dialogical relationships. It is equally true that the dynamics of relationships, groups, and culture depend on tendencies to diverge, to differentiate, and to dissent. Evidence from anthropology, as well as social, developmental, and cognitive psychology, reveals remarkably convergent accounts of the complex interplay of divergence and convergence in an array of contexts. Conversational alignment, synchrony, mimicry, imitation, majority-minority dynamics, dissent, trust, intra- and cross-cultural diversity, social learning, and the formation and development of cultures all reveal complex patterns of selectivity and fidelity that continue to surprise researchers. The general pattern is one illustrated by young children: They are most willing to be guided by those who tell the truth and those who care about others. Issues of convergence and divergence are fundamental social phenomena, and they deserve fresh attention.

Keywords: alignment, anticonformity, conformity, dissent, divergence, imitation, mimicry, minority dynamics, social learning, synchrony

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