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Child Dev. 2013 Mar-Apr;84(2):422-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01860.x. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Selective imitation of in-group over out-group members in 14-month-old infants.

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University of Erfurt, Erfurt,Germany.


Recent research has shown that infants are more likely to engage with in-group over out-group members. However, it is not known whether infants' learning is influenced by a model's group membership. This study investigated whether 14-month-olds (N = 66) selectively imitate and adopt the preferences of in-group versus out-group members. Infants watched an adult tell a story either in their native language (in-group) or a foreign language (out-group). The adult then demonstrated a novel action (imitation task) and chose 1 of 2 objects (preference task). Infants did not show selectivity in the preference task, but they imitated the in-group model more faithfully than the out-group model. This suggests that cultural learning is beginning to be truly cultural by 14 months of age.

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