Brief Familiarization Primes Covert Imitation in 9-month-old Infants
Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Previous research reveals that 9-month-old infants who passively observe an experimenter search repeatedly for a toy in the Piagetian A-not-B error task covertly imitate these actions and manually search incorrectly when the toy is hidden in the B-location. Two experiments tested whether infants would also search incorrectly if the experimenter was replaced by a pair of mechanical claws or if the experimenter performed less familiar actions. Although infants did not commit the search error when tested directly without any familiarization to the novel actions, a significant majority of infants committed the search error following two minutes of familiarization with the actions performed on the A trials. These results converge to suggest that infants’ brief experiences with observing actions will facilitate the activation of a corresponding motor representation. Furthermore, the specific process by which this facilitation occurs varies with the similarity between the observed action and its motor representation.
Bertenthal, Bennett I., Ty W. Boyer.
"Brief Familiarization Primes Covert Imitation in 9-month-old Infants."
Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society Boston, Massachusetts.