Deferred Imitation

Deferred imitation is the delayed repetition of a behavior at a later time than when it actually occurred. This phenomenon was first described by the psychologist Jean Piaget who noted that this ability appeared in children ages between18 and 24 months. Infants and very young children are unable to hold memories of behaviors in their memory and recall them later.

Children eventually develop the ability to mentally represent the behavior in their mind and repeat it. Examples of deferred imitation would be a child mimicking their parents cooking dinner by playing with pots and pans and pretending to cook. Another example would be a child who observes another child at preschool throwing a temper tantrum and repeats the behavior for his parents later.

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History of Psychology
History of Psychology