Mirror kinetics

When people with mirror kinetics observe others moving or assuming certain postures they feel an automatic, involuntary impulse to assume the same postures or make the same movements. This could be a type of synesthesia.

Here are some descriptions written by people with mirror kinetics:


“It’s basically, sometimes, when I see someone moving (for example, falling) I’ll feel as if I’m falling too. It can be really scary, but I tend to be able to snap out of it. It can be really disorienting.”

(Source: Cath, in the blog Synesthesia and Such. 2013.)

CC Hart, a synesthete and medical and massage professional, writes on her website Vox Synaesthetica:

When I see other people dance, I feel my own muscles fire in response. This mirror-proprioception is a frequent feature of mirror-sensory synesthesia. (…) When I watch dancers spin, I get a giddy reaction fostered by the dizzying precision of their pirouettes.”


She also says, in this post:

"I feel myself moving when other people move. This rarely occurs with simple acts like watching someone walk down the street. However, more complicated, coordinated movements, such as dance, martial arts, or acrobatics will really get me twitching. (…) I can get a little exercise by simply watching other people move."


Joel Salinas also describes this phenomenon in his book Mirror Touch, mentioning that he feels his own body move on observing motions made by others, noting that the mirror effect is stronger the more spontaneous the person’s movements are:

“I experienced these effects firsthand later when I interviewed one patient before admitting him to the ward. He was pacing as if he were on an invisible race track going in laps over and over again, hurrying to cross the finish line. He sat down next to me, and I immediately felt the sensation of nearly continuous movement around my nose and lips, sparked by the patient’s form of fidgeting often known as akathisia, increased motor movements of his face and mouth, like a rabbit twitching its nose. Interviewing him, I had a hard time keeping focused on the conversation as I struggled to stop my face from mirroring the man’s twitching, tweaking, pouting, crinkling movements. This was one of the instances when I realized the extent of my permeability, how quickly I can take on more erratic movements. The more spontaneous they are, the more likely I am to mirror them.”

(Joel Salinas, Mirror Touch. A Memoir of Synesthesia and the Secret Life of the Brain. Pub. Harper One, 2017. p159.)

Related types of synesthesia:

Mirror touch

Mirror speech

Auditory-motor or sound-to-kinetics (involuntary body movements triggered by sound)

Machine empathy

This page last updated: 06 Septiembre 2021

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to find any hint of the same symptoms as I have online and this was the closest I've come. Whenever I see people on television or in movies or occasionally in real life move in for a kiss, my lips pucker and I kiss. It is involuntary and almost every time. I have au HD and ma sexual so I don't kiss much in real life