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  • Cited by 63
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2009
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Book description

Mechanisms of imitation and social matching play a fundamental role in development, communication, interaction, learning and culture. Their investigation in different agents (animals, humans and robots) has significantly influenced our understanding of the nature and origins of social intelligence. Whilst such issues have traditionally been studied in areas such as psychology, biology and ethnology, it has become increasingly recognised that a 'constructive approach' towards imitation and social learning via the synthesis of artificial agents can provide important insights into mechanisms and create artefacts that can be instructed and taught by imitation, demonstration, and social interaction rather than by explicit programming. This book studies increasingly sophisticated models and mechanisms of social matching behaviour and marks an important step towards the development of an interdisciplinary research field, consolidating and providing a valuable reference for the increasing number of researchers in the field of imitation and social learning in robots, humans and animals.


‘Imitation and Social Learning in Robots, Humans, and Animals advances our understanding of the diversity of “imitations” and how much is to be learned from comparing them across species as diverse as parrots, butterflies, and even a male cuttlefish impersonating a female in a breeding pair – and thence to humans and their primate cousins and the brain mechanisms which support imitation and social learning. This book offers a rich set of processing strategies of importance to key areas of computer science, like robotics and embodied communication - and this new understanding factors back into novel theories of human social interaction and its disorders.’

Michael Arbib - University Professor, Fletcher Jones Chair in Computer Science and Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California

‘Imitation has become the hottest of multidisciplinary topics in recent years. Nehaniv and Dautenhan have led the way in recognising the very special potential for cross-fertilisation between engineers endeavouring to create truly imitative robots and researchers studying imitation in natural systems, from parrots to people. In this substantial new state-of-the-art volume, they bring together leading figures to provide an unprecedented appraisal of the key issues and the most recent discoveries in this field.’

Andrew Whiten - Wardlaw Professor of Psychology, University of St Andrews

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