Friday, February 24, 2006
What makes young kids different from young chimps?
They are LESS critical in imitating the actions of others. Horner and Whiten trained young chimps to remove food from a black box (open the door on its left side) but added some extraneous steps (tap on top of box, pull back blot across top of box). When the box was made transparent, the chimps recognized the unnecessary steps and no longer performed them. Human children (3-4 years old) doing the same exercise did not delete the unnecessary steps!! (see Horner, V. & Whiten, A. (2005). Causal knowledge and imitation/emulation switching in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and children (Homo sapiens). Animal Cognition, 8, 164-181.)