Imitative Learning in Humans and Animals
Imitative learning occurs when an individual acquires a novel action as a result of watching another individual produce it. It can be distinguished from other, lower-level social learning mechanisms such as local enhancement, stimulus enhancement, and contagion (see Imitation: Definition, Evidence, and Mechanisms). Most critically within this context, it can also be distinguished from emulation in which an individual learns about the affordances and/or causal properties of the objects involved in a demonstration rather than the particular actions used by the model. In stark contrast to emulation, the term “over-imitation” is sometimes used to refer to action copying that is so faithful that it includes the casually irrelevant and unnecessary actions of a model (technically, however, this term is better reserved for cases in which a learner copies a model’s unnecessary actions even when they...
- Gergely, G., & Csibra, G. (2006). Sylvia’s recipe: The role of imitation and pedagogy in the transmission of human culture. In N. J. Enfield & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), Roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition, and human interaction (pp. 229–255). Oxford: Berg Publishers.Google Scholar
- Haun, D. B. M., & Tomasello, M. (in press). Conformity to peer pressure in preschool children. Child Development.Google Scholar