Charting the prevalence, time course and social-cognitive correlates of neonatal imitation. (2009–2013)
One of the fundamental skills that underpin human culture is our capacity to imitate. The proposed studies will test, more thoroughly than ever before, how much newborns imitate and whether neonatal imitation is correlated with later social-cognitive developments. This research will involve multiple imitation assessments during the neonatal period and longitudinal testing to investigate relationships between neonatal imitation and other important social-cognitive behaviours that emerge over the first 18 months of life. We will also study nonhuman primates to determine how specific our findings are to humans. This work will generate new and definitive data on the origins and early development of human cultural learning and social behaviour.