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Front Psychol. 2012 Jul 19;3:252. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00252. eCollection 2012.

The peer model advantage in infants' imitation of familiar gestures performed by differently aged models.

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1
Ruhr-Universität Bochum Bochum, Germany.

Abstract

Infants' imitation of differently aged models has been predominately investigated with object-related actions and so far has lead to mixed evidence. Whereas some studies reported an increased likelihood of imitating peer models in contrast to adult models, other studies reported the opposite pattern of results. In the present study, 14-month-old infants were presented with four familiar gestures (e.g., clapping) that were demonstrated by differently aged televised models (peer, older child, adult). Results revealed that infants were more likely to imitate the peer model than the older child or the adult. This result is discussed with respect to a social function of imitation and the mechanism of imitating familiar behavior.

KEYWORDS:

gestures; imitation; infancy; model age; peers

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