The role of context in "over-imitation" : Evidence of movement-based goal inference in young children

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2020
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March, Joshua
Rigby Dames, Brier
Caldwell, Christine
Doherty, Martin
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Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Elsevier. 2020, 190, 104713. ISSN 0022-0965. eISSN 1096-0457. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104713
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Children, as well as adults, often imitate causally unnecessary actions. Three experiments investigated whether such "over-imitation" occurs because these actions are interpreted as performed for the movement's sake (i.e., having a "movement-based" goal). Experiment 1 (N = 30, 2-5-year-olds) replicated previous findings; children imitated actions with no goal more precisely than actions with external goals. Experiment 2 (N = 58, 2-5-year-olds) confirmed that the difference between these conditions was not due to the absence/presence of external goals but rather was also found when actions brought about external goals in a clearly inefficient way. Experiment 3 (N = 36, 3-5-year-olds) controlled for the possibility that imitation fidelity was affected by the number of actions and objects present during the demonstration and confirmed that identical actions were imitated more precisely when they appeared to be more inefficient toward an external goal. Our findings suggest that movement-based goal inference encourages over-imitation.

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150 Psychologie
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Imitation, Goal inference, Children, Context, Intention, Action understanding
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ISO 690MARCH, Joshua, Brier RIGBY DAMES, Christine CALDWELL, Martin DOHERTY, Eva RAFETSEDER, 2020. The role of context in "over-imitation" : Evidence of movement-based goal inference in young children. In: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Elsevier. 2020, 190, 104713. ISSN 0022-0965. eISSN 1096-0457. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104713
BibTex
@article{March2020conte-52602,
  year={2020},
  doi={10.1016/j.jecp.2019.104713},
  title={The role of context in "over-imitation" : Evidence of movement-based goal inference in young children},
  volume={190},
  issn={0022-0965},
  journal={Journal of Experimental Child Psychology},
  author={March, Joshua and Rigby Dames, Brier and Caldwell, Christine and Doherty, Martin and Rafetseder, Eva},
  note={Article Number: 104713}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Children, as well as adults, often imitate causally unnecessary actions. Three experiments investigated whether such "over-imitation" occurs because these actions are interpreted as performed for the movement's sake (i.e., having a "movement-based" goal). Experiment 1 (N = 30, 2-5-year-olds) replicated previous findings; children imitated actions with no goal more precisely than actions with external goals. Experiment 2 (N = 58, 2-5-year-olds) confirmed that the difference between these conditions was not due to the absence/presence of external goals but rather was also found when actions brought about external goals in a clearly inefficient way. Experiment 3 (N = 36, 3-5-year-olds) controlled for the possibility that imitation fidelity was affected by the number of actions and objects present during the demonstration and confirmed that identical actions were imitated more precisely when they appeared to be more inefficient toward an external goal. Our findings suggest that movement-based goal inference encourages over-imitation.</dcterms:abstract>
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