We thank Liane Jorschick, Roger Mundry, Manja Teich, Cornelia Schulze, Ulrike Neuendorf, Katja Buschmann, Elena Rossi, and Petra Jahn for help with data collection, coding, and analyses, and we also thank the infants and parents for their cooperation.
Being Mimicked Increases Prosocial Behavior in 18-Month-Old Infants
Article first published online: 14 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Child Development © 2013 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 5, pages 1511–1518, September/October 2013
How to Cite
Carpenter, M., Uebel, J. and Tomasello, M. (2013), Being Mimicked Increases Prosocial Behavior in 18-Month-Old Infants. Child Development, 84: 1511–1518. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12083
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 14 MAR 2013
Most previous research on imitation in infancy has focused on infants' learning of instrumental actions on objects. This study focused instead on the more social side of imitation, testing whether being mimicked increases prosocial behavior in infants, as it does in adults (van Baaren, Holland, Kawakami, & van Knippenberg, 2004). Eighteen-month-old infants (N = 48) were either mimicked or not by an experimenter; then either that experimenter or a different adult needed help. Infants who had previously been mimicked were significantly more likely to help both adults than infants who had not been mimicked. Thus, even in infancy, mimicry has positive social consequences: It promotes a general prosocial orientation toward others.