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Two studies were conducted to examine whether infants' reenactment of intended but unconsummated acts in A. N. Meltzoff's (1995) failed-attempt paradigm is due to reading the adult's underlying intention or to the effects of nonimitative social learning processes. Two novel conditions that emphasized the object affordances and the spatial contiguity of the object sets were devised. When infants' first actions only were counted, infants who observed the full-demonstration model produced more target acts. When all target acts produced within the 20-s response period were counted, infants in the emulation-learning and spatial contiguity conditions produced as many target acts as infants in the full-demonstration and failed-attempt conditions. This pattern of findings suggests that nonimitative social learning processes may influence infants' response in the behavioral reenactment paradigm.


Journal article


Dev Psychol

Publication Date





840 - 855


Attention, Discrimination Learning, Female, Habituation, Psychophysiologic, Humans, Imitative Behavior, Infant, Infant Behavior, Intention, Learning, Male, Psychology, Child, Random Allocation, Reaction Time, Reinforcement (Psychology)