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Contrasting social and cognitive accounts on overimitation: The role of causal transparency and prior experiences

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Schleihauf,  Hanna
Max Planck Research Group Early Social Cognition, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Hoehl,  Stefanie
University of Heidelberg, Germany;
Max Planck Research Group Early Social Cognition, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schleihauf, H., Graetz, S., Pauen, S., & Hoehl, S. (2018). Contrasting social and cognitive accounts on overimitation: The role of causal transparency and prior experiences. Child Development, 89(3), 1039-1055. doi:10.1111/cdev.12780.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-EE74-C
Abstract
Three experiments (N = 100) examine the influence of causal information on overimitation. In Experiment 1, a transparent reward location reveals that the reward is unaffected by nonfunctional actions. When 5-year-olds observe an inefficient and subsequently an efficient strategy to retrieve a reward, they show overimitation in both phases—even though the reward is visible. In Experiment 2, children observe first the efficient then the inefficient strategy. The latter is always demonstrated communicatively, whereas the efficient strategy is presented communicatively (2a) or noncommunicatively (2b). Regardless of whether the efficient strategy is emphasized through communication or not, most children do not switch from the efficient to the inefficient strategy. Depending on the situation, children base their behavior on social motivations or causal information.