Perspectives on Imitation, Volume 2

From Neuroscience to Social Science - Volume 2: Imitation, Human Development, and Culture

Imitation is not the low-level, cognitively undemanding behavior it is often assumed to be, but rather—along with language and the ability to understand other minds—one of a trio of related capacities that are fundamental to human mentality. In these landmark volumes, leading researchers across a range of disciplines provide a state-of-the-art view of imitation, integrating the latest findings and theories with reviews of seminal work, and revealing why imitation is a topic of such intense current scientific interest. Perspectives are drawn from neuroscience and brain imaging, animal and developmental psychology, primatology, ethology, philosophy, anthropology, media studies, economics, sociology, education, and law. These volumes provide a resource that makes this research accessible across disciplines and clarifies its importance for the social sciences and philosophy as well as for the cognitive sciences. As a further aid to cross-fertilization, each volume includes extensive interdisciplinary commentary and discussion.

The first volume considers possible mechanisms of imitation, including discussion of mirror systems, ideomotor and common coding theories, and the possibility of "shared circuits" for control, imitation, and simulation, and then takes up imitation in animals, with illuminating comparisons to human imitation. The second volume focuses first on the roles of imitation in human development and in learning to understand the minds of others, and then on the broader social and cultural roles and functions of imitation, including discussions of meme theory and cultural evolution, and of the pervasive imitative tendencies of normal adults and their relevance for understanding the effects of the media on human behavior.

Table of Contents

  1. Contents of Volume 1
  2. Introduction: The Importance of Imitation

    Susan Hurley and Nick Chater

  3. Imitation and Human Development
  4. 1. Imitation and Other Minds: The ``Like Me'' Hypothesis

    Andrew N. Meltzoff

  5. 2. Imitation, Mind Reading, and Simulation

    Alvin I. Goldman

  6. 3. Intentional Agents Like Myself

    Robert M. Gordon

  7. 4. No Compelling Evidence to Dispute Piaget's Timetable of the Development of Representational Imitation in Infancy

    Moshe Anisfeld

  8. 5. Intention Reading and Imitative Learning

    Michael Tomasello and Malinda Carpenter

  9. 6. On Learning What Not to Do: The Emergence of Selective Imitation in Tool Use by Young Children

    Paul L. Harris and Stephen Want

  10. 7. Imitation as Entrainment: Brain Mechanisms and Social Consequences

    Marcel Kinsbourne

  11. 8. Commentary and Discussion on Imitation and Human Development
  12. Imitation and Culture
  13. 9. Why We Are Social Animals: The High Road to Imitation as Social Glue

    Ap Dijksterhuis

  14. 10. Deceptive Mimicry in Humans

    Diego Gambetta

  15. 11. What Effects Does the Treatment of Violence in the Mass Media Have on People's Conduct? A Controversy Reconsidered

    John Eldridge

  16. 12. Imitation and the Effects of Observing Media Violence on Behavior

    L. Rowell Huesmann

  17. 13. Imitation and Moral Development

    Jesse J. Prinz

  18. 14. Imitation and Mimesis

    Merlin Donald

  19. 15. Imitation and Rationality

    Robert Sugden

  20. 16. Common Misunderstandings of Memes (and Genes): The Promise and the Limits of the Genetic Analogy to Cultural Transmission Processes

    Francisco J. Gil-White

  21. 17. Goals versus Memes: Explanation in the Theory of Cultural Evolution

    Mark Greenberg

  22. 18. Mendelian and Darwinian Views of Memes and Cultural Change

    Nick Chater

  23. 19. Commentary and Discussion on Imitation and Culture
  24. Bibliography for Volumes 1 and 2
  25. Contributors to Volumes 1 and 2
  26. Index to Volume 1
  27. Index to Volume 2