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Imitation And Ability To Form Social Experience Based On A Mental Model In Preschoolers

Ya. K. Smirnova

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The article features basic violations and absence of “mental model” as an ability to identify with another person’s actions in the process of imitation. 124 preschoolers were studied to compare the development of mental model and imitation. They were divided into three contrasting groups: normally developing children, children with special needs, and children with delayed speech development. The study revealed imitation differences in relation to the level of the mental model. The obtained data complement the understanding of the innate foundations of social cognition. Violations associated with imitation can explain the cognitive aspects of the mental development deficit in preschool children. They can be a universal symptom that disrupts early social interaction and ultimately leads to various social and communication deficits. For a productive implementation of simulation schemes, it is necessary to understand and recognize the mental states of the interlocutor and their organization into mental models (single, situational, or extra-narrative). Imitation arises when the children are able to integrate information about themselves and about others and can combine their own intentions and the intentions of others in relation to an external object (triadic relations).