Imitation, Mind Reading, and Social Learning

Biological Theory 8 (1):20-27 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Imitation has been understood in different ways: as a cognitive adaptation subtended by genetically specified cognitive mechanisms; as an aspect of domain general human cognition. The second option has been advanced by Cecilia Heyes who treats imitation as an instance of associative learning. Her argument is part of a deflationary treatment of the “mirror neuron” phenomenon. I agree with Heyes about mirror neurons but argue that Kim Sterelny has provided the tools to provide a better account of the nature and role of human imitation. What we call imitative learning is an instance of social learning. It has little to do with empathy, emotional contagion, or mind reading



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,569

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Hierarchical Learning of Song in Birds: A Case of Vocal Imitation?Dietmar Todt - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):702-703.
Social Learning and Teaching in Chimpanzees.Richard Moore - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (6):879-901.
Mirror Neurons and Social Cognition.Shannon Spaulding - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (2):233-257.
Where Do Mirror Neurons Come From.Cecilia Heyes - forthcoming - Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
Imitation and Conventional Communication.Richard Moore - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (3):481-500.


Added to PP

60 (#195,935)

6 months
1 (#418,511)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Philip Gerrans
University of Adelaide