Social learning mechanisms: Implications for a cognitive theory of imitation

Interaction Studies 12 (2):233-261 (2011)
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Abstract

Social influence and social learning are important to the survival of many organisms, and certain forms of social learning also may have important implications for their underlying cognitive processes. The various forms of social influence and learning are discussed with special emphasis on the mechanisms that may be responsible for opaque imitation (the copying of a response that the observer cannot easily see when it produces the response). Three procedures are examined, the results of which may qualify as opaque imitation: the bidirectional control procedure, the two- action procedure, and the do-as-I-do procedure. Variables that appear to affect the emergence of opaque imitation are identified and other complex forms of response copying are discussed. Keywords: bidirectional control procedure; contagion; emulation; imitation; local enhancement; object movement reenactment; observational conditioning; opaque imitation; social enhancement; social facilitation; social influence; social learning; stimulus enhancement; two action procedure

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