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Advances in Psychological Science    2016, Vol. 24 Issue (5) : 716-724     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00716
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Efficiency or fidelity first: A discussion of preschool children’s imitative learning mechanism
ZHENG Ming1; HAN Zengxia1; WANG Zhidan2
(1 College of Education, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China) (2 Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30302, USA)
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Abstract  

Imitation is an important learning mechanism. However, do preschool children emphasize efficiency and copy actions selectively, or emphasize fidelity and copy indiscriminately? This debate on preschool children’s imitation is becoming a key question among developmental psychologists, comparative psychologists, and evolutionary anthropologists in the last 10 years. Some researchers proposed the automatic causal encoding hypothesis and the intention misunderstanding hypothesis based on how preschool children reason causal relations. Other researchers proposed the social affiliation hypothesis and the natural pedagogical hypothesis according to how preschool children communicate with others socially. To date, no one hypothesis has been able to explain all the evidence. To understand this debate from a new perspective, the “benefit-and-loss trading” hypothesis was proposed, which states that preschool children copy other’s actions by trading the benefit and loss.

Keywords imitation      efficiency      fidelity      learning mechanism     
Corresponding Authors: ZHENG Ming, E-mail: zhengming003@sina.com   
Issue Date: 15 May 2016
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ZHENG Ming
HAN Zengxia
WANG Zhidan
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ZHENG Ming,HAN Zengxia,WANG Zhidan. Efficiency or fidelity first: A discussion of preschool children’s imitative learning mechanism[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2016, 24(5): 716-724.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00716     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2016/V24/I5/716
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