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Journal Article

Preschoolers’ motivation to over‐imitate humans and robots

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Schleihauf,  Hanna
Max Planck Research Group Early Social Cognition, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA;
German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany;
Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany;

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

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Schleihauf_2020.pdf
(Publisher version), 602KB

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Citation

Schleihauf, H., Hoehl, S., Tsvetkova, N., König, A., Mombaur, K., & Pauen, S. (2020). Preschoolers’ motivation to over‐imitate humans and robots. Child Development. doi:10.1111/cdev.13403.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-F032-2
Abstract
From preschool age, humans tend to imitate causally irrelevant actions-they over-imitate. This study investigated whether children over-imitate even when they know a more efficient task solution and whether they imitate irrelevant actions equally from a human compared to a robot model. Five-to-six-year-olds (N = 107) watched either a robot or human retrieve a reward from a puzzle box. First a model demonstrated an inefficient (Trial 1), then an efficient (Trial 2), then again the inefficient strategy (Trial 3). Subsequent to each demonstration, children copied whichever strategy had been demonstrated regardless of whether the model was a human or a robot. Results indicate that over-imitation can be socially motivated, and that humanoid robots and humans are equally likely to elicit this behavior.