Navigation Links
Humans appear hardwired to learn by 'over-imitation'
Date:12/5/2007

New Haven, Conn.Children learn by imitating adultsso much so that they will rethink how an object works if they observe an adult taking unnecessary steps when using that object, according to a Yale study today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even when you add time pressure, or warn the children not to do the unnecessary actions, they seem unable to avoid reproducing the adults irrelevant actions, said Derek Lyons, doctoral candidate, developmental psychology, and first author of the study. They have already incorporated the actions into their idea of how the object works.

Learning by imitation occurs from the simplest preverbal communication to the most complex adult expertise. It is the basis for much of our success as a species, but the benefits are less clear in instances of over-imitation, where children copy behavior that is not needed, Lyons said.

It has been theorized that children over-imitate just to fit in, or out of habit. The Yale team found in this study that children follow the adults steps faithfully to the point where they actually change their mind about how an object functions.

The study included three-to-five-year-old children who engaged in a series of exercises. In one exercise, the children could see a dinosaur toy through a clear plastic box. The researcher used a sequence of irrelevant and relevant actions to retrieve the toy, such as tapping the lid of the jar with a feather before unscrewing the lid.

The children then were asked which actions were silly and which were not. They were praised when they pinpointed the actions that had no value in retrieving the toy. The idea was to teach the children that the adult was unreliable and that they should ignore his unnecessary actions.

Later the children watched adults retrieve a toy turtle from a box using needless steps. When asked to do the task themselves, the children over-imitated, despite their prior training to ignore irrelevant actions by the adults.

What of all of this means, Lyons said, is that childrens ability to imitate can actually lead to confusion when they see an adult doing something in a disorganized or inefficient way. Watching an adult doing something wrong can make it much harder for kids to do it right.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jacqueline Weaver
jacqueline.weaver@yale.edu
203-432-8555
Yale University  
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Gene regulation, not just genes, is what sets humans apart
2. Humans fostering forest-destroying disease
3. SRMs track fire retardants in humans and environment
4. Influence of sex and handedness on brain is similar in capuchin monkeys and humans
5. Gene regulation in humans is closer than expected to simple organisms
6. Role reversal as humans suck life out of leeches
7. Extra gene copies were enough to make early humans mouths water
8. Newfound ancient African megadroughts may have driven the evolution of humans and fishes
9. Humans unknowing midwives for pregnant moose
10. Humans and monkeys share Machiavellian intelligence
11. University of Toronto finds humans and chimps differ at level of gene splicing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Humans appear hardwired to learn by 'over-imitation'
(Date:4/17/2017)... Florida , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, ... technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on ... and Exchange Commission. ... on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of ... as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market ... Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast ... from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... Algenist continues to disrupt ... unlocking collagen like never before. , Collagen is the key structural element skin ... with Liquid Collagen™, which include: , First to market ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... Teachers from three Philadelphia ... August 14th through the 16th, the University City Science Center will kick off ... 2016, provides Philadelphia-based middle school educators an opportunity for professional development related to ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... , ... August 09, 2017 , ... Okyanos Center for ... place at the Pelican Bay Hotel in Freeport, Grand Bahama on September 27, 2017. ... required. , With oversight from the Ministry of Health’s National Stem Cell Ethics ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... UK (PRWEB) , ... August 10, 2017 , ... ... announced an agreement establishing Kinokuniya Company Ltd. as its exclusive sales representative for ... exclusive sales representative for the SPIE Digital Library in Japan. , “We look ...
Breaking Biology Technology: