Babies Picky About Who They Imitate
By REMY MELINA - LIVESCIENCE
Added: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 06:43:58 UTC
Babies are famous for copying adults, but a new study shows that little ones carefully choose whether to imitate an adult's actions based on how credible they think the adult is.
For example, if an adult has previously displayed unreliable or dishonest behavior, the baby is less likely to mimic them, according to the study.
Researchers divided 60 babies between 13 months and 16 months into two groups. In the first group, "unreliable" experimenters looked inside a container while expressing excitement, and invited the babies to discover whether the box contained a toy or was empty. For that group's experiment, the box was empty. The second group had "reliable" experimenters, so when the babies copied the adults' enthusiastic behavior and looked inside the box, they found a toy.
In a second imitation task, each baby again observed the same experimenter that they had looked at during the box exercise. This time, the adult used her forehead instead of her hands to turn on a push-on light. The experimenter then watched to see whether the infant would copy her behavior.
The results showed that 61 percent of the infants in the "reliable" group imitated the irrational behavior of using their foreheads to turn on the light. By contrast, 34 percent of infants imitated the unreliable testers who had previously deceived them during the box task.
Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net Comments
Rats Manipulated to be Attracted to Cats
- - TAM 2012 - JREF Comments
R. Elisabeth Cornwell at TAM 2012 - Social Networks: Civilizing the Future
- - The Royal Society Comments
Research suggesting that grey parrots can reason about cause and effect from audio cues alone- a skill that monkeys and dogs lack- is presented in Proceedings of the Royal Society B today.
Thomas H. Maugh II - LA Times Comments
Modern culture emerged in southern Africa at least 44,000 years ago, more than 20,000 years earlier than anthropologists had previously believed
Michael Balter - Science Comments
Studies to examine how children learn tasks that are not obvious and can even be counterintuitive.
Ker Than - National Geographic News Comments
After a poacher's snare had killed one of their own, two young mountain gorillas worked together Tuesday to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home