Babies Know When You Imitate Them – And Like It

An adult male holds up a baby with its arms extended so that they are face-to-face; both have their mouths wide open.In 2020, researchers from Lund University in Sweden published findings from their investigation of six-month-olds in their homes and how they responded to being imitated by a researcher. In Babies Know When You Imitate Them – And Like It, the author describes four ways in which the babies were imitated by the home visitors and what they learned from those interactions. “The researchers found that the babies looked and smiled longer and tried to approach the adult more often, during the close mirroring of their actions.” They went on to describe imitating as “an effective way to catch their attention and bond with them.” This may not be news to early interventionists, but it might be to parents, especially those with children who are hard to engage. There’s even a video to illustrate the results the researchers gathered. You can access the video on the article page or on YouTube. If you’re interested in reading the whole research article entitled, Imitation Recognition and Its Prosocial Effects in 6-Month-Old Infants, feel free to check it out.

The ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM) describes core knowledge and role-specific competencies needed for early intervention service provision, incorporating current research and evidence in the field of early intervention. To access the ESPM, click here.

This resource is related to the following ESPM knowledge-level competencies:

  • Core Knowledge (CK):
    • CK5: The importance of play as context, method, and outcome of learning.
  • Individualized Family Service Plan Development and Review (IFSP-DR):
    • IFSP-DR5 (EIS): Understands the rationale for the identification and selection of intervention strategies used in everyday routines, relationships, activities, places, and partnerships for early intervention activities.
  • Individualized Family Service Plan Development and Review (IFSP-i):
    • IFSP-i2 (EIS): Understands the individual nature of child learning styles and the importance of adapting intervention strategies.
    • IFSP-i6 (EIS): Understands the need for developmentally appropriate strategies (for example, hands-on, experiential, child-centered, play-based activities within daily routines), adaptations, assistive technologies, and other supports that maximize the child’s learning opportunities.
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