Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Children with autism do not overimitate

Marsh, L., Pearson, Amy, Ropar, D. and Hamilton, A. (2013) Children with autism do not overimitate. Current Biology, 23 (7). R266-R268. ISSN 09609822

Item Type: Article


Copying the behaviour of others is important for forming social bonds with other people and for learning about the world [1]. After seeing an actor demonstrate actions on a novel object, typically developing (TD) children faithfully copy both necessary and visibly unnecessary actions [2]. This ‘overimitation’ is commonly described in terms of learning about the object, but may also reflect a social process such as the child’s motivation to affiliate with the demonstrator [3] or to conform to perceived norms [4]. Previous studies of overimitation do not separate object learning and social imitation because they use novel objects. Even though researchers consider these objects to be causally transparent in their mechanism, young children’s causal reasoning about novel objects is unclear [4]. The present study measures the social component of overimitation by using familiar objects, which preclude the learning component of the task. Here we report a significant reduction in overimitation in children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). This is coherent with reports that these children have profound difficulties with social engagement [5] and do not spontaneously imitate action style [6] (see also [7]).

MarshPearsonRoparHamilton_CB_postprint.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (602kB) | Preview

More Information

Depositing User: Amy Pearson


Item ID: 5876
Identification Number:
ISSN: 09609822
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Amy Pearson: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2016 14:30
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 03:30


Author: Amy Pearson ORCID iD
Author: L. Marsh
Author: D. Ropar
Author: A. Hamilton

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology



Actions (login required)

View Item View Item