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ERIC Number: EJ1143845
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jul
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1467-7687
Exploring the Evolutionary Origins of Overimitation: A Comparison across Domesticated and Non-Domesticated Canids
Johnston, Angie M.; Holden, Paul C.; Santos, Laurie R.
Developmental Science, v20 n4 Jul 2017
When learning from others, human children tend to faithfully copy--or "overimitate"--the actions of a demonstrator, even when these actions are irrelevant for solving the task at hand. We investigate whether domesticated dogs ("Canis familiaris") and dingoes ("Canis dingo") share this tendency to overimitate in three experiments. In Experiment 1, dogs and dingoes had the opportunity to solve a puzzle after watching an ostensive demonstrator who used both a relevant action and an irrelevant action. We find clear evidence against overimitation in both species. In contrast to human children (Horner & Whiten, 2005), dogs and dingoes used the irrelevant action less often across trials, suggesting that both species were filtering out the irrelevant action as they gained experience with the puzzle (like chimpanzees; Horner & Whiten, 2005). Experiments 2 and 3 provide further evidence against overimitation, demonstrating that both species' behavior is better characterized by individual exploration than overimitation. Given that both species, particularly dogs, show human-like social learning in other contexts, these findings provide additional evidence that overimitation may be a unique aspect of human social learning. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at:
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DGE1122492