The Intelligent Imitator book cover

The Intelligent Imitator

Towards an Exemplar Theory of Behavioral Choice

This monograph presents a novel conceptual framework for the study of human social behavior with potentially far-reaching implications. Owing to the role it accords to stored memory representations of observed occurrences (examples) of actions, the proposed framework is referred to as the Exemplar Choice Theory, or ECT. The theory links perception and action and combines an expectancy-value perspective on choice behavior, with features of recent exemplar-based approaches to the study of human information processing. It addresses the influence of social models, as well as the impact of past action consequences and differs from extant theories of instrumental learning.

The volume focuses on two extreme classes of conditions defined in terms of the actor's limited access to information and discusses available evidence from many areas of psychology. Its structure is as follows: the introductory chapter locates the proposed theory within a historical context; this is followed by an overview of the main structure of the conceptual framework; subsequently, general propositions are presented and discussed in detail; later, empirical implications are derived for certain extreme classes of choice conditions and considered in the light of empirical evidence.

It is hoped the publication will inspire students and researchers of psychology, biology, zoology and of many social sciences, including sociology, anthropology, decision research, marketing, economics, cognitive science and mass media studies to undertake further research and to reconsider existing data and frameworks.

Included in series
Advances in Psychology

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Published: November 1992

Imprint: North-holland

ISBN: 978-0-444-88360-5

Contents

  • Introduction. General Overview of the Model. The Model. Relationships to Other Models or Conceptual Frameworks. Principles of Acquisition and Application of Information. Introduction. Postulates. Behavior under Minimal Conditions. Introduction. Imitation under Minimal Conditions. Imitation in Neonates. Neonates as Possible Example of Actors Acting Under Minimal Conditions. Review of Research Results. Points of Controversy. Evaluation of the Alternative Explanations. Imitation under Conditions that are Functionally Equivalent to Minimal Conditions. Introduction. Imitation in Young Infants. Imitation in Abnormal Populations. Self Imitation. Summary and Conclusions. Behavior in a Restricted Context: Theory and Test Conditions. Introduction. The Impact of Past Action Observations on Current Values and Behavior. General Characteristics of Empirical Situations Establishing a Restricted Context for the Actor. Existing Research: Some General Remarks. Major Classes of Empirical Interpretations. Summary and Conclusions. How Does Direct Observation of Actions Affect the Observer? Introduction. Overview of Some Research. Social Influence in the Autokinetic Situation. The Autokinetic Illusion. Sherif's Experiments on Norm Formation. Sherif's Results: Are they Relevant and Do they Support the Theory? Explaining Sherif's Results: Is the Account Suggested by the Exemplar Theory of Behavioral Choice Better Than Sherif's Account in Terms of Norm Formation? Summary and Conclusions. The Impact of Direct Observation of Actions in Other Situations. Introduction. Modifications of Sherif's Experiment. Various Studies on the Impact of Social Models on an Observer. Incomplete Action Observations: The Impact of an Event Which is Interpreted by the Observer as the Intended Consequence of an Action. A Note on the Impact of Indirect Observation of Actions. Research on the Impact of Observing One's Own Actions. Summary and Conclusions. Summary and Conclusions. References. Subject Index. Author Index.

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