You have probably noticed that young children like to copy what others do: they stir in a toy pot when they see you cook, they want to do everything their older sibling does, or they copy others’ facial expressions. This copying behavior, which we call imitation, is one of the most important learning processes in the early years, and it allows children to learn quickly and efficiently about the social and material world. In our first project at the lab we investigate 18-month-old children’s imitation with different kinds of tests to find out more about the different processes involved in this fascinating behavior.
By studying young children’s imitation in different settings in the lab, we can find out about how they interpret other people’s actions, how the social context influences what they learn, and how much they remember from what they have seen earlier. Findings of research studies with typically developing children enrich our knowledge about human development, and they build the foundation of applied research, such as intervention programs targeting specific developmental delays. Our project is named “Towards an early detection of delays in social-cognitive development – A new battery of imitation tests“, and it is funded by Helse Nord (HNF1390-17).
The project consists of two separate, but similar studies: Study 1 that started in January 2018, and Study 2 that starts in the fall of 2018. The main difference between these studies is that those who participate in Study 1 visit to the lab one once, while Study 2 involves two appointments.
In 2019 we started a collaboration with Natalia Kartushina at the BabyLing Lab at the University of Oslo. We contribute with data collected in Tromsø to her project investigating the role of the learning environment on language acquisition.