Imitation in Animals and Artifacts


The effort to explain the imitative abilities of humans and other animals draws on fields as diverse as animal behavior, artificial intelligence, computer science, comparative psychology, neuroscience, primatology, and linguistics. This volume represents a first step toward integrating research from those studying imitation in humans and other animals, and those studying imitation through the construction of computer software and robots.

Imitation is of particular importance in enabling robotic or software agents to share skills without the intervention of a programmer and in the more general context of interaction and collaboration between software agents and humans. Imitation provides a way for the agent—whether biological or artificial—to establish a "social relationship" and learn about the demonstrator's actions, in order to include them in its own behavioral repertoire. Building robots and software agents that can imitate other artificial or human agents in an appropriate way involves complex problems of perception, experience, context, and action, solved in nature in various ways by animals that imitate.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. The Agent-Based Perspective on Imitation

    Kerstin Dautenhahn and Chrystopher L. Nehaniv

  3. 2. The Correspondence Problem

    Chrystopher L. Nehaniv and Kerstin Dautenhahn

  4. 3. Vocal, Social, and Self-imitation by Bottlenosed Dolphins

    Louis M. Herman

  5. 4. Allospecific Referential Speech Acquisition in Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus): Evidence for Multiple Levels of Avial Vocal Imitation

    Irene M. Pepperberg

  6. 5. On Avian Imitation: Cognitive and Ethological Perspectives

    Johannes Fritz and Kirt Kotrschal

  7. 6. Art Imitates Life: Programming by Example as an Imitation Game

    Henry Lieberman

  8. 7. Learning to Fly

    Claude Sammut, Scott Hurst, Dana Kedzier, and Donald Michie

  9. 8. Imitation of Sequential and Hierarchical Structure in Action: Experimental Studies with Children and Chimpanzees

    Andrew Whiten

  10. 9. Three Sources of Information in Social Learning

    Josep Call and Malinda Carpenter

  11. 10. The Mirror System, Imitation, and the Evolution of Language

    Michael A. Arbib

  12. 11. Imitation: A means to Enhance Learning of a Synthetic Protolanguage in Autonomous Robots

    Aude Billard

  13. 12. Rethinking the Language Bottleneck: Why Don't Animals Learn to Communicate?

    Michael Oliphant

  14. 13. Imitation of a Dual-Route Process Featuring Predictive and Learning Components: A Biologically Plausible Computational Model

    John Demiris and Gillian Hayes

  15. 14. Challenges in Building Robots That Imitate People

    Cynthia Breazeal and Brian Scassellati

  16. 15. Art Imitates Life: Programming by Example as an Imitation Game

    Henry Lieberman

  17. 16. Imitation or Something Simpler? Modeling Simple Mechanisms for Social Information Processing

    Jason Noble and Peter M. Todd

  18. 17. Imitation as a Perceptual Process

    Robert W. Mitchell

  19. 18. "Do Monkeys Ape?" - Ten Years After

    Elisabetta Visalberghi and Dorothy Fragaszy

  20. 19. Transformational And Associative Theories of Imitation

    Cecilia Heyes

  21. 20. Dimensions of Imitative Perception-Action Mediation

    Stefan Vogt

  22. 21. Goal Representations in Imitative Actions

    Harold Bekkering and Wolfgang Prinz

  23. 22. Information Replication in Culture: Three Modes for the Transmission of Culture Elements through Observed Action

    Oliver R. Goodenough

  24. Appendix
  25. Contributors
  26. Index