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ERIC Number: EJ1006817
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0965
The Development of Social Learning in Interactive and Observational Contexts
Matheson, Heath; Moore, Chris; Akhtar, Nameera
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, v114 n2 p161-172 Feb 2013
From the first year of life, imitative learning readily occurs in contexts where a demonstrator directly interacts with infants (i.e., "interactive contexts"), and at least by 18 months, imitation will also occur in third-party or observational contexts where infants witness a demonstration by another person that is not directed at them. However, it remains unclear whether imitation is differentially facilitated in these two contexts in young children. In the current experiment, we tested both imitation and emulation learning in younger (18 months) and older (24 months) infants in three different social learning conditions: interactive, social observational, and solitary observational. We found that the younger group imitated novel actions more after interactive demonstration than after solitary observational demonstration; older infants imitated equally in all conditions. Emulation occurred equally in all conditions for the younger group, but the older group emulated significantly less in the interactive condition than in the solitary observational condition. Furthermore, we found that mirror self-recognition was related to imitation in the solitary observational condition. These results suggest that imitation is initially facilitated by direct interaction but that by the end of the second year can occur just as easily in noninteractive contexts. This change may be dependent on developments in social cognition, in particular, the understanding of self-other equivalence. (Contains 1 figure and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A