Imitation in Japanese quail: The role of reinforcement of demonstrator responding

Chana K. Akins, Thomas R. Zentall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Imitative learning has been difficult to demonstrate in animals, partly because techniques have not adequately ruled out alternative accounts based on motivational and perceptual mechanisms (Zentall, 1996). Recently, it has been proposed that differences in the effects of observation of two very different response topographies would rule out such artifactual, alternative accounts (Akins & Zentall, 1996). In the present research, we confirmed that strong evidence for imitation can be found in Japanese quail, and that such imitation requires the imitator's observation of reinforced responding by the demonstrator. Thus, under the present conditions, it appears that an observer will imitate a demonstrated response only if it also observes the appetitive consequences of that response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-697
Number of pages4
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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