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Keywords:

  • peers;
  • imitation;
  • infants;
  • novelty

Studies comparing adult and peer imitation are rare and have to date provided mixed results. The aim of the present study was to investigate 14-month-olds' imitation of different actions (novel versus familiar) performed by televised models of different age groups (peers, older children or adults). In two experiments, we investigated infants' imitative performance when observing a novel action (Experiment 1) and familiar actions (Experiment 2). The results showed that the likelihood of imitating a novel action increased as the age of the model increased. The opposite was true for familiar actions where infants imitated the peer more frequently than either the older child or the adult model. These findings are discussed in relation to infants' ability to take into account a model's characteristics such as age when imitating actions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.