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Verbal imitation is based on intention understanding

Over, Harriet and Gattis, Merideth Leigh 2010. Verbal imitation is based on intention understanding. Cognitive Development 25 (1) , pp. 46-55. 10.1016/j.cogdev.2009.06.004

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Abstract

Using an elicited imitation paradigm, we investigated whether young children imitate the communicative intentions behind speech. Previous research using elicited imitation has shown that children tend to correct ungrammatical sentences. This finding is usually interpreted as evidence that children, like adults, remember and reproduce the gist of linguistic information. In three studies, we tested whether this tendency is also a product of their intention understanding. Replicating and extending previous research by Meltzoff [Meltzoff A. N. (1995). Understanding the intentions of others: Re-enactment of intended acts by 18-month-old children. Developmental Psychology, 31, 838–850], our first two experiments showed that children tend to correct ungrammatical sentences. A critical third experiment showed that children correct ungrammatical sentences only when they believe the model to be an intentional agent. These results complement previous findings from the action domain and strongly support the claim that imitation is based on understanding the intentions of others.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social cognition; Imitation; Elicited imitation; Intention understanding
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0885-2014
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2017 20:16
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/11525

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