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ERIC Number: EJ939479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0885-2014
Own and Others' Prior Experiences Influence Children's Imitation of Causal Acts
Williamson, Rebecca A.; Meltzoff, Andrew N.
Cognitive Development, v26 n3 p260-268 Jul-Sep 2011
Young children learn from others' examples, and they do so selectively. We examine whether the efficacy of prior experiences influences children's imitation. Thirty-six-month-olds had initial experience on a causal learning task either by performing the task themselves or by watching an adult perform it. The nature of the experience was manipulated such that the actor had either an easy or a difficult experience completing the task. Next, a second adult demonstrated an innovative technique for completing it. Children who had a difficult first-person experience, and those who had witnessed another person having difficulty, were significantly more likely to adopt and imitate the adult's innovation than those who had or witnessed an easy experience. Children who observed another were also more likely to imitate than were those who had the initial experience themselves. Imitation is influenced by prior experience, both when it is obtained through one's own hands-on motor manipulation and when it derives from observing the acts of others. (Contains 2 figures.)
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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