Infant imitation in a third-party context
The present study examined 17-month-olds’ imitation in a third-party context. In four experiments, the infants watched while a reliable or an unreliable model demonstrated a novel action with an unfamiliar (Experiments 1 and 3) or a familiar (Experiments 2 and 4) object to another adult. In Experiments 3 and 4, the second adult imitated the model’s novel action. Neither the familiarity of the object or whether or not the second adult copied the model’s behavior influenced the likelihood of infant imitation. Findings showed that the infants in the reliable model condition were more willing to imitate the model’s action with the unfamiliar object. The results suggest that infants take into account the reliability of a model even when the model has not directly demonstrated her reliability to the infant.
Keywords: infants, imitation, third-party context, reliable model, unreliable model
Published online: 09 February 2021
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