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Neonatal imitation: Temporal characteristics in imitative response patterns

Journal article
Authors M. Heimann
Tomas Tjus
Published in Infancy
Volume 24
Issue 5
Pages 674-692
ISSN 1525-0008
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 674-692
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/infa.12304
Keywords adult, article, child, clinical article, controlled study, female, gesture, girl, human, imitation, infant, middle aged, newborn, stimulus, theoretical study, tongue
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

Neonatal imitation has been an area that has attracted intense attention within developmental psychology. Reported here are data from 33 newborn infants (16 girls; mean age: 47 hr) assessed for imitation of tongue protrusion (TP) and mouth opening (MO). The stimuli were presented dynamically, in three 20-second-long gesture modeling intervals, interwoven with three 20-second-long intervals in which the presenter kept a passive face. Imitation of TP emerged among a majority of the infants during the first 60 s of the experiment. In contrast, MO showed a protracted response and a majority exhibited imitation after 60 s. The individual response pattern of the participating infants varied substantially over the course of the experiment. The study provides renewed support for neonatal imitation of MO and TP, and, in addition, suggests that the temporal organization of the responses observed is an important factor to consider, which in turn has methodological and theoretical implications. © 2019 International Congress of Infant Studies

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