Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Imitation and the Active Child

Hilbrink, Elma 2011. Imitation and the Active Child. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
Item availability restricted.

PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (863kB) | Preview
[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (419kB)


The central topic of this thesis is the role of individual differences in the development of imitation. The main claim of the thesis is that individual differences reflect infants’ active involvement in their own developmental process. The thesis utilizes a combination of experimental and parent report data to demonstrate the manifold nature of the origins of imitation. Chapter one introduces the topic of individual differences in imitation by reviewing, in the first part of the chapter, the literature on imitation during the first 18 months of life, and the literature on the role of temperament in social-cognitive development, in the second part of the chapter. Furthermore, the open questions concerning the role of individual differences and the infants’ active involvement in the development of imitation are discussed. Chapter two studies the relation between attentional preferences and individual differences in imitation of facial and vocal models in the first few months of life. Thus far studies of early imitation have dismissed individual differences as noise, therefore not much is known about the role of individual differences in imitation. The findings demonstrate that attentional preferences as measured with the Infant Behaviour Questionnaire-Revised (Gartstein & Rothbart, 2003) are related to specific differences in imitation. Furthermore the findings demonstrate that the major theoretical accounts of imitation are not sufficient to explain these results and a new theoretical model is proposed. In chapter three the infant’s active involvement in its own developmental process is studied by assessing the role of spontaneous imitation in the development of imitation of actions on objects during the first year of life. I demonstrate that infants’ own initiative to imitate actions on objects is the most important predictor of the observed increase in imitation of actions on objects around 10- to12- months of age. V Chapter four assesses the role of infant sociability in imitation. In particular, it examines the hypothesis that sociability is related to faithful, but not selective, imitation. The findings demonstrate a positive link between sociability, as measured by the surgency scale of the Early Childhood Behaviour Questionnaire (Putnam, Gartstein & Rothbart, 2006), and faithful imitation. Finally, in the general conclusion I will argue that the two current dominant accounts of imitation, i.e. an innate account and a learning account, do not account for these results, and I will propose an alternative theoretical model that does account for these findings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Imitation ; Individual differences ; Developmental process ; Social-cognitive development ; Spontaneous imitation ; Sociability
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:13

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics