Why the confusion around neonatal imitation? A review

Oostenbroek, Janine, Slaughter, Virginia, Nielsen, Mark and Suddendorf, Thomas (2013) Why the confusion around neonatal imitation? A review. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 31 4: 328-341. doi:10.1080/02646838.2013.832180

Author Oostenbroek, Janine
Slaughter, Virginia
Nielsen, Mark
Suddendorf, Thomas
Title Why the confusion around neonatal imitation? A review
Journal name Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0264-6838
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1080/02646838.2013.832180
Volume 31
Issue 4
Start page 328
End page 341
Total pages 14
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject 3200 Psychology
2743 Reproductive Medicine
2729 Obstetrics and Gynaecology
2735 Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
Abstract Considerable research efforts have been expended investigating imitation in newborns over the past 35 years. This is because neonatal imitation is extremely controversial, with debates focusing on whether the phenomenon even exists, what the mechanism is that drives it, and the function that it serves. Three prominent theories that the field currently offers are: (1) neonatal imitation is a genuine act of social communication mediated through an abstract representational system; (2) the phenomenon is actually an involuntary, inborn reflex limited to tongue protrusion; and (3) imitation in newborns is a product of arousal. These views continue to be maintained without much promise of resolution, and it is the aim of this review to investigate why. Here, we review the history of neonatal imitation research and these debates. We will critically examine the empirical basis for neonatal imitation, including studies from the past decade that have not been reviewed to date. We consider what may contribute to the confusion of the interpretation of neonatal imitation, such as newborn state regulation, testing context, coding and scoring. We conclude with comments pointing to new ways of studying and interpreting the controversial phenomenon of neonatal imitation that have not yet been proposed. © 2013
Keyword Arousal
Mirror neurons
Neonatal imitation
Tongue protrusion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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