Young children overimitate in third-party contexts

Nielsen, Mark, Moore, Chris and Mohamedally, Jumana (2012) Young children overimitate in third-party contexts. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112 1: 73-83. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2012.01.001

Author Nielsen, Mark
Moore, Chris
Mohamedally, Jumana
Title Young children overimitate in third-party contexts
Journal name Journal of Experimental Child Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0965
Publication date 2012-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jecp.2012.01.001
Volume 112
Issue 1
Start page 73
End page 83
Total pages 11
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract The exhibition of actions that are causally unnecessary to the outcomes with which they are associated is a core feature of human cultural behavior. To enter into the world(s) of their cultural in-group, children must learn to assimilate such unnecessary actions into their own behavioral repertoire. Past research has established the habitual tendency of children to adopt the redundant actions of adults demonstrated directly to them. Here we document how young children will do so even when such actions are modeled to a third person regardless of whether children are presented with the test apparatus by the demonstrating, and assumedly expert, adult or by the observing, and assumedly naive, adult (Experiment 1), whether or not children had opportunity to discover how the apparatus works prior to modeling (Experiment 1), and whether or not children’s attention was drawn to the demonstration while they were otherwise occupied (Experiment 2). These results emphasize human children’s readiness to acquire behavior that is in keeping with what others do, regardless of the apparent efficiency of the actions employed, and in so doing to participate in cultural learning.
Keyword Overimitation
Third-party learning
Social learning
Social cognition
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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