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Evolution, development and intentional control of imitation

Objective

The human capacity for imitation provides the foundation for language acquisition, skill learning, socialisation, and enculturation. The dominant North American model claims that imitation is innate. The EDICI project replaces this conception with a model incorporating evolutionary, developmental and cultural inputs to imitation. In the case of imitation, being human means sharing core neurocognitive mechanisms with other species, and, as a result of culture-dependent interactions during development, being unique in ones ability to harness these mechanisms for the pursuit of individual and social goals. To test a multi-level model of this kind, interdisciplinary work is essential. The consortium represents internationally leading expertise in ethology, evolu tionary biology and neurophysiology, comparative, developmental and cognitive psychology. Methods and insights from these fields will be applied in studies of children, healthy adults and neurological patients, and of animals that are closely related to hu mans phylogenetically (marmosets), ecologically (social birds) and culturally (dogs). Europe is the home of evolutionary theory, ethology and genetic epistemology, and was the site of the earliest scientific research on imitation. Our project builds on the se historical strengths by testing a distinctively European model of imitation, using world-class European facilities and expertise. We expect major breakthroughs in understanding the evolutionary, developmental, cognitive and neurological bases of imitati on, and that our integrative approach will have a broader impact on model-building in evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In contrast with the North American conception, our model emphasises the role of experience in the development of imit ation. Therefore, our work will contribute to the design of social and technological skills training programmes, and to interventions for children and adults with impairments in imitative abil

Call for proposal

FP6-2003-NEST-PATH
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAET WIEN
Address
Dr. Karl Lueger-ring 1
Wien
Austria

Participants (3)

INSTITUTE FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH OF THE HUNGARIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Hungary
Address
Victor Hugo Utca 18-22
Budapest
MAX PLANCK GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.
Germany
Address
Hofgartenstrasse 8
Muenchen
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
Address
Gower Street
London