Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Masur, Elise Frank

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Imitation in children; Infant psychology


The effects of item visibility and familiarity were assessed on the imitative performance of 14- to 18- month-old . infants by presenting the infants with behaviors that varied on the two dimensions and analyzing the amount of imitation by the infants. Two age groups were examined, a 14- to 15-month-old group and a 17- to 18-month-old group, with 6 males and 6 females in each group. It was expected that both item familiarity and item visibility would differentially affect the performance of the infants, such that all subjects would imitate familiar behaviors more than novel ones and both the younger and older children would imitate visible items. It was expected that older children would be more likely than the younger children to imitate novel and/or nonvisible behaviors. The results indicated that item familiarity was very important for the imitation performance of the children. Within the nonvisible behaviors, there was a main effect of familiarity. Among the visible items, the older children performed significantly more familiar than novel behaviors. The predictions for visibility were not supported. Partial correlations among performance of visible and nonvisible familiar and novel behaviors indicated that children who imitated more of one type of behavior also imitated more of the other categories of behavior. The results were discussed in light of Piagetian theory and the implications of imitation as possible strategies for cognitive development and as a way of facilitating social interactions, as suggested by previous research.


Bibliography: pages [54]-58.


vii, 104 pages




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