Young children's imitative and innovative behaviour on the floating object task

Nielsen, Mark (2013) Young children's imitative and innovative behaviour on the floating object task. Infant and Child Development, 22 1: 44-52. doi:10.1002/icd.1765

Author Nielsen, Mark
Title Young children's imitative and innovative behaviour on the floating object task
Journal name Infant and Child Development   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1522-7227
Publication date 2013-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/icd.1765
Volume 22
Issue 1
Start page 44
End page 52
Total pages 9
Place of publication Bognor Regis, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Past research has shown that children will copy the actions of adults with high fidelity, even actions that are obviously causally irrelevant to the modelled outcome. However, this phenomenon has always been documented in cases where a clear functional outcome has been brought about (e.g. getting a box open to retrieve a toy). Here, we demonstrate how young children will continue to adopt the precise actions shown to them by an adult even if the goal of the actions is not realized during modelling. A group of 4-year-old participants were presented with a toy lying at the bottom of a Perspex tube. Despite the availability of a bottle of water, and unlike the responses of a group of adults, few children spontaneously identified the solution of pouring the water into the tube to raise the toy up the tube where it could be reached. The majority did so, however, after seeing an adult demonstrate this approach. Critically, children copied the specific method of the adult, even when this involved the unnecessary steps of pouring from the bottle into a cup before pouring from the cup into the tube. These results highlight the value of overimitation to children growing up in a world filled with objects whose operating mechanisms are often hidden or unclear.
Keyword Imitation
Social learning
Tool use
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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