author={Thomas R. Zentall},
  journal={Cybernetics and Systems},
  pages={53 - 96}
  • T. Zentall
  • Published 1 January 2001
  • Psychology
  • Cybernetics and Systems
The terms sociallearning and social influence have been used descriptively and theoretically to characterize a broad range of animal behavior from physical antipredatory adaptations such as eye spots, which are totally under genetic control, to the human capacity for the exaggeration of individual characteristics, known as caricature, which are largely under cognitive control. In the present review, the various forms of social influence and social learning are identified and distinghished from… 

Imitation by Animals

Imitation is of psychological interest in part because it has cognitive implications for how organisms view the behavior of others, relative to their own behavior. It implies the ability to take the

Empirical investigations of social learning, cooperation, and their role in the evolution of complex culture

A meta-analysis of published studies of primate social learning abilities that were conducted using the two-action paradigm suggests that social learning that exhibits high fidelity to the demonstrator’s behaviour offers learning advantages that increase incrementally with the complexity of the learning goal.

Evolutionary perspectives on imitation: is a comparative psychology of social learning possible?

The principal problems of comparing like with like in studies of imitation in animals are examined and the most powerful of which is proposed to be the use of a systematic range of task designs, rather than any single "gold standard" task.

Action imitation in birds

  • T. Zentall
  • Psychology, Biology
    Learning & behavior
  • 2004
This article tries to identify and differentiate the various forms of socially influenced behavior and explains why it is important to differentiate imitation from other forms of social influence and examines some of the variables that appear to be involved in the occurrence of imitation.

The evolution of imitation and mirror neurons in adaptive agents

Imitation: what animal imitation tells us about animal cognition.

  • L. BatesR. Byrne
  • Psychology
    Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science
  • 2010
Among the authors' close relatives, only the great apes show much evidence of production imitation of actions, along with the ability to selectively imitate the most rational components of what they observe.

Evolving Imitating Agents and the Emergence of a Neural Mirror System

This work develops evolutionary adaptive autonomous agents that spontaneously demonstrate imitative learning and presents a novel framework for studying the emergence of imitative behavior, facilitating a comprehensive study of the emerging underlying neural mechanisms.



CHAPTER 11 – An Analysis of Imitative Learning in Animals

Observational learning by cats.

Despite many studies of the subject there is little agreement on the nature or extent of imitative learning, and a survey of the experimental studies reveals such a variety of definitions and criteria that most textbooks avoid the issue as to whether or not animals can learn by imitation.

Learning by imitation: A hierarchical approach

It is argued that most of the alternatives for explaining social learning without invoking the cognitively complex concept of imitation can be subsumed under a single process, priming, in which input increases the activation of stored internal representations.

Social cognition of monkeys and apes

This paper reviews what is known about the social cognition of monkeys and great apes. The literature reviewed is divided into three main content areas: (1) social interaction, including knowledge of

Outline for a Functional Analysis of Imitation in Animals

The term `'imitation'' is generally used by ethologists to cover interactions between conspecifics in which an unusual or novel behavioral repertoire exhibited by an animal is emitted by an observing

The comparative and developmental study of self-recognition and imitation: The importance of social factors.

Developmental study of closely related primate species may be required to isolate the factors that are important in the development of cognitively complex behaviors such as self-recognition and imitation, to compare with developmental data from human primates.

A Comparative-Developmental Approach to Understanding Imitation

Imitation is so often an untractable phenomenon for comparative psychologists that some have declared the task of defining it hopeless. Yet commonalities in examples of imitation suggest that