Development of Imitation- article notes

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12 Mar 2011
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The development of imitation
๎€In order to imitate
๎€‚Humans must appropriately extract the key elements from the information of othersโ€™
body movements, which constantly change over time
๎€‚Mentally assemble the extracted elements
๎€‚Control our own bodies to replicate the actions accurately
๎€2 aspects of imitations
๎€‚Methods and techniques of making and using tools (not genetically transmitted)
๎€ƒAn observer can efficiently acquire the adaptive skills specific to his or her group,
without depending solely on trial and error or on individual learning
๎€ƒPermits such information to be transmitted across generations as aspects of
culture
๎€‚Ensure successful communication with others in order to ensure survival
๎€ƒPredict and understand the behavior of others with the same mental state as
oneself
๎€ƒAbility to understand intentions, goals, beliefs and thoughts (theory of mind)
๎€‚Imitation is believed to play an especially important role in the imaginative ability to
conceive of an object not presently visible
๎€‚Serve as a prerequisite for representing an object by abstract thought
๎€Humans vs. chimpanzees
๎€‚Body imitation is difficult not just for monkeys but for chimpanzees as well
๎€‚Myowa-Yamokoshi and Matsuzawa
๎€ƒPurpose: degree to which imitation in adult chimp is limited, compared to that in
humans
๎€ƒFace-to-face situations: human model used an object to perform meaningless
actions that were not related to the intended function of the object
๎€ƒ48 action types were presented. Following variables:
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โ€ขNumber of objects to manipulate and the direction of manipulation
โ€ขThe motor pattern- that is, patterns that were familiar or not familiar to the
chimps
๎€ƒResults: minimal imitation of the actions that were rpesented to the chimps
without practice.
โ€ขChimps foung it more difficult to perform actions that involved manipulating
one object than those that involved manipulating one object toward another
object or manipulating one object toward oneself.
โ€ขReproduced actions involving familiar motor patterns more easily ( frequency
was low)
๎€ƒFor chimps: information about an object that was being manipulated by a model
(shape, direction, function) served as a useful clue for reproduction.
๎€ƒInformation about the body movement of another individual (motor patterns) did
not easily translate into clues for reproducing the actions
๎€ƒWhen only observed the actions, there was very minimal imitation even of the
motor patterns that are familiar
๎€ƒWHEN CHIMPS ARE IMITATING THE ACTIONS OF OTHERS, THEY PAY
LESS ATTENTION TO BODY MOVEMENTS AND MORE TO THE SUBJECTS
BEING MANIPULATED.
๎€
๎€Can humans imitate form the time of birth?
๎€‚Meltzoff and Moore- even newborn humans possess the ability to perform imitation
with parts of their bodies that they cannot even see themselves
๎€‚Facial expressions such as protruding their tongues or opening their mouths
(Neonatal imitation)
๎€‚Inherent body-mapping capability- Active intermodal mapping (AIM)
๎€ƒDevelops with age and eventually allows humans to develop the ability to imitate
more complex behaviors
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๎€ƒIf neonatal imitation is the origin of imitation behavior, and if AIM- which
enables imitation- is an ability unique to humans, then imitation immediately
after birth should be present only in humans
๎€ƒClear proof of the existence of neonatal imitation was found only in newborn
chimp
๎€ƒShared by humans and chimps
๎€Mechanisms supporting neonatal imitation
๎€‚Ability of adult chimpanzees to map the bodies of others onto their own body images
is limited- difficulty with imitation
๎€‚Neonatal imitation-level mapping limited to a certain body region is possible eve
among newborn chimpanzees.
๎€‚Gap in imitation development between the two species occurs because the
mechanism of neonatal imitation differs from that of later imitation, which appears
at approximately 8-12 months of age in humans
๎€‚Neonatal imitation cannot be explained by primordial reflex theory. This is because
human and chimpanzee infants are able to differentiate and imitate at least two
different expressions- namely, tongue protrusion and mouth opening.
๎€‚It is possible to perform imitative actions limited to the neonatal imitation level
without performing body mapping between oneโ€™s own body and anotherโ€™s
๎€‚Baron-Cohen- human neonates do not perceive stimuli via specific sensory
modalities with specialized cortical nerve pathways. Instead, the stimuli are
perceived in a synesthetic, amodal state on the subcortical level.
๎€‚Human infants perceive stimulus traits without separating sight and touch. (unique
amodal sensory style of newborn infants)
๎€‚Amodal sensory perception continues until nerve pathways develop on the cortical
levels for each modality (6-8 weeks)
๎€ƒPerceive strength or spped of a stimulus frm its energy
๎€ƒTime or spatial frequency from its texture
๎€ƒLong period structure frm its rhythm;
๎€ƒPosition or direction of movement from its orientation
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Document Summary

humans must appropriately extract the key elements from the information of others" body movements, which constantly change over time. control our own bodies to replicate the actions accurately. methods and techniques of making and using tools (not genetically transmitted) an observer can efficiently acquire the adaptive skills specific to his or her group, without depending solely on t rial and error or on individual learning. permits such information to be transmitted across generations as aspects of culture. ensure successful communication with others in order to ensure survival. predict and understand the behavior of others with the same mental state as oneself. ability to understand intentions, goals, beliefs and thoughts (theory of mind) imitation is believed to play an especially important role in the imaginative ability to conceive of an object not presently visible. serve as a prerequisite for representing an object by abstract thought.

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