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Third-Party Preferences for Imitators in Preverbal Infants

Third-Party Preferences for Imitators in Preverbal Infants Participants in social interactions often imitate one another, thereby enhancing their affiliation. Here we probe the nature and early development of imitation-based affiliation through studies of infants’ preferences for animated characters who imitate, or are imitated by, other characters. Four experiments provide evidence that preverbal infants preferentially attend to and approach individuals who imitate others. This preferential engagement is elicited by the elements of mimicry in simple acts of helping. It does not, however, extend to the targets of imitation in these interactions. This set of findings suggests infants’ imitation-based preferences are not well explained by homophily, prestige, or familiarity. We propose instead that infants perceive imitation as an indicator of valuable attributes in a potential social partner, including the capacity and motivation for social attention and coordinated action. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Open Mind MIT Press

Third-Party Preferences for Imitators in Preverbal Infants

Open Mind , Volume 2 (2): 11 – Dec 30, 2018

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References (42)

Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
Copyright © MIT Press
eISSN
2470-2986
DOI
10.1162/opmi_a_00018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Participants in social interactions often imitate one another, thereby enhancing their affiliation. Here we probe the nature and early development of imitation-based affiliation through studies of infants’ preferences for animated characters who imitate, or are imitated by, other characters. Four experiments provide evidence that preverbal infants preferentially attend to and approach individuals who imitate others. This preferential engagement is elicited by the elements of mimicry in simple acts of helping. It does not, however, extend to the targets of imitation in these interactions. This set of findings suggests infants’ imitation-based preferences are not well explained by homophily, prestige, or familiarity. We propose instead that infants perceive imitation as an indicator of valuable attributes in a potential social partner, including the capacity and motivation for social attention and coordinated action.

Journal

Open MindMIT Press

Published: Dec 30, 2018

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