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Are you watching me?: the role of audience and object novelty on overimitation

Marsh, Lauren E.; Ropar, Danielle; De C. Hamilton, Antonia F.


Antonia F. De C. Hamilton


This study tests whether overimitation is subject to an audience effect, and whether it is modulated by object novelty. Eighty-six 4-to-11-year old children watched a demonstrator open novel and familiar boxes, using sequences of necessary and unnecessary actions. The experimenter then observed the child, turned away, or left the room while the child opened the box. Children copied unnecessary actions more when the experimenter watched or when she left, but copied less when she turned away. This parallels infant studies which suggest that turning away is interpreted as a signal of disengagement. Children displayed increased overimitation and reduced efficiency discrimination when opening novel, compared to familiar boxes. These data provide important evidence that object novelty is a critical component of overimitation.


Marsh, L. E., Ropar, D., & De C. Hamilton, A. F. (2019). Are you watching me?: the role of audience and object novelty on overimitation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 180, 123-130.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 23, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 14, 2019
Publication Date Jan 14, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 23, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 23, 2019
Journal Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Print ISSN 0022-0965
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 180
Pages 123-130
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Are you watching me? The role of audience and object novelty in overimitation; Journal Title: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


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