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Under what conditions do children have difficulty in inhibiting imitation? Evidence for the importance of planning specific responses.

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Journal of experimental child psychology

Elsevier BV

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      Abstract

      The response set effect has been observed in a number of developmental tasks that are proposed to required inhibition. This effect has been interpreted as evidence that the specific responses children plan to make in these tasks become prepotent. Here we investigated whether there is a response set effect in the hand game. In this task, children need to suppress imitation and make a fist in response to a finger and point a finger in response to a fist. Following pilot data, we tested 7- and 11-year-olds (N=36, Experiment 1) and then 5- and 6-year-olds (N=40, Experiment 2). A response set effect was observed in the hand game with children 6years of age and older. Thus, we obtained evidence consistent with a domain-general intentional mechanism that modulates prepotency. In the General discussion, we consider how this mechanism may work and how our findings relate to current theories of imitation.

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      Author and article information

      Affiliations
      [1 ] Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK. asimpson@essex.ac.uk
      Journal
      J Exp Child Psychol
      Journal of experimental child psychology
      Elsevier BV
      1096-0457
      0022-0965
      Aug 2011
      : 109
      : 4
      21458827
      S0022-0965(11)00080-4
      10.1016/j.jecp.2011.02.015

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