Imitation, Mind Reading, and Social Learning

Biological Theory 8 (1):20-27 (2013)

Philip Gerrans
University of Adelaide
Imitation has been understood in different ways: as a cognitive adaptation subtended by genetically specified cognitive mechanisms; as an aspect of domain general human cognition. The second option has been advanced by Cecilia Heyes who treats imitation as an instance of associative learning. Her argument is part of a deflationary treatment of the “mirror neuron” phenomenon. I agree with Heyes about mirror neurons but argue that Kim Sterelny has provided the tools to provide a better account of the nature and role of human imitation. What we call imitative learning is an instance of social learning. It has little to do with empathy, emotional contagion, or mind reading
Keywords Emulation  Imitation  Mind reading  Mirror neurons  Modularity  Social learning  Tool use
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-013-0112-4
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References found in this work BETA

Where Do Mirror Neurons Come From?Cecilia Heyes - forthcoming - Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
The Theory of Mind Module in Evolutionary Psychology.Philip Gerrans - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):305-321.

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