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Infants show stability of goal-directed imitation

Sakkalou, Elena, Ellis-Davies, Katherine, Fowler, Nia, Hilbrink, Elma and Gattis, Merideth Leigh ORCID: 2013. Infants show stability of goal-directed imitation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 114 (1) , pp. 1-9. 10.1016/j.jecp.2012.09.005

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Previous studies have reported that infants selectively reproduce observed actions and have argued that this selectivity reflects understanding of intentions and goals, or goal-directed imitation. We reasoned that if selective imitation of goal-directed actions reflects understanding of intentions, infants should demonstrate stability across perceptually and causally dissimilar imitation tasks. To this end, we employed a longitudinal within-participants design to compare the performance of 37 infants on two imitation tasks, with one administered at 13 months and one administered at 14 months. Infants who selectively imitated goal-directed actions in an object-cued task at 13 months also selectively imitated goal-directed actions in a vocal-cued task at 14 months. We conclude that goal-directed imitation reflects a general ability to interpret behavior in terms of mental states.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Uncontrolled Keywords: Imitation; Goal understanding; Individual differences; Action understanding; Prosody; Infancy; Longitudinal
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-0965
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 09:58

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