Giovanni Ottoboni Eleonora Calimazzo Andrea Ceciliani Alessia Tessari

The functional relationship between imitative learning and the metric of human body: A pilot study with children

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Theories that account for the imitative mechanisms primarily consider the role of bodily representations and their involvement during storage of information. However, these theories neglect an evolutionary perspective. To bridge the gap, a group of primary school children were requested to imitate actions of different difficulty performed by 2 models, an adult and a child. Simple actions were imitated by children in a similar manner, regardless of whether the model was an adult or another child.; however, complex actions were imitated better when children copied the adult model. Results suggest a functional role of the model: when the cognitive load increases, it becomes more adaptive to rely on a more reliable model, e.g. the adult.


  • Imitations
  • Copy from the Model
  • Bodily Representations
  • Evolutionary Perspective


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