Document Type


Publication Date


Published In

Early Child Development and Care


Imitation, Infancy, Mother-infant interaction, Longitudinal, Stability, Intersubjectivity


We investigated the continuity and stability of imitative episodes (IMEs) to shed light on the nature of early infant imitative ability. We observed and analyzed interactions of 27 mother-infant pairs as they played in their homes at one and 10 months. We coded the initiator, frequency, duration, kind, structure, and affect of IMEs. At 10 months, dyads engaged in more frequent and longer IMEs that tended to be vocal, turn-takings, and positive in affect. Significant stability was observed. Mothers who initiated more IMEs and expressed more positive affect had infants who did the same. Findings suggest that dyads set stable communication patterns early on, even though all of these variables increased significantly over time. These patterns may be driven or be highly influenced by early individual differences in communicative ability. Findings also imply that building a history of positive exchanges may be critical in demonstrating stability in imitative episodes.

Grant Information

This work was partially supported by a research grant entitled: ‘Twin and Non-Twin Infants in Their Interactions with Important Others: Cognitive, Emotional and Social Development’, Research Committee, University of Crete [grant number K.A. 1909, Date of Approval: 7 May 2004].




This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Early Child Development and Care on September 3 2019, available online:


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Available for download on Wednesday, March 03, 2021