ERIC Number: EJ789408
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 50
Judicious Imitation: Children Differentially Imitate Deterministically and Probabilistically Effective Actions
Schulz, Laura E.; Hooppell, Catherine; Jenkins, Adrianna C.
Child Development, v79 n2 p395-410 Mar-Apr 2008
Three studies look at whether the assumption of causal determinism (the assumption that all else being equal, causes generate effects deterministically) affects children's imitation of modeled actions. These studies show even when the frequency of an effect is matched, both preschoolers (N = 60; M = 56 months) and toddlers (N = 48; M = 18 months) imitate actions more faithfully when modeled actions are deterministically rather than probabilistically effective. A third study suggests that preschoolers' (N = 32; M = 58 months) imitation is affected not just by whether the agent's goal is satisfied but also by whether the action is a reliable means to the goal. Children's tendency to generate variable responses to probabilistically effective modeled actions could support causal learning.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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