In this research group, our main interests are 1) young children’s affiliation and identification with their social groups and 2) the social functions of imitation, for example, how children use imitation in order to affiliate and identify with others (both at the interpersonal and the group level). Further interests include other means of aligning and sharing attitudes and behavior with others that are present even earlier in infancy, such as joint attention.


From left to right: Maria Plötner, Harriet Over, Malinda Carpenter, Ruiting Song, and Antonia Misch

Representative publications

Beier, J. S., Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2014). Young children help others to achieve their social goals. Developmental Psychology, 50, 934-940. [pdf]

Buttelmann, D., Over, H., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2014).  Eighteen-month-olds understand false beliefs in an unexpected-contents  task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 119, 120-126. [pdf]

Buttelmann, D., Zmyj, N., Daum, M. M., & Carpenter, M. (2013). Selective imitation of in-group over out-group members in 14-month-old infants. Child Development, 84, 422-428. [pdf]

Call, J., & Carpenter, M. (2009). Monkeys like mimics. Science, 325, 824-825. [pdf]

Carpenter, M. (2012). Joint attention in humans and animals. In N. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning (pp. 1663-1664). Springer. [online]

Carpenter, M. (2010). Social cognition and social motivations in infancy. In U. Goswami (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive development, 2nd edition (pp. 106-128). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. [pdf]

Carpenter, M. & Call, J. (2013). How joint is the joint attention of  apes and human infants? In J. Metcalfe & H. S. Terrace (Eds.), Agency  and joint attention (pp. 49-61). New York: Oxford University Press. [pdf]

Carpenter, M., & Liebal, K. (2011). Joint attention, communication, and knowing together in infancy. In A. Seemann (Ed.), Joint attention: New developments in psychology, philosophy of mind, and social neuroscience (pp. 159-181). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [pdf]

Carpenter, M., Uebel, J., & Tomasello, M. (2013). Being mimicked  increases prosocial behavior in 18-month-old infants. Child Development, 84, 1511-1518. [pdf]

Misch, A., Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2014). Stick with your group: Young children's attitudes about group loyalty. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, 19-36. [pdf]

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (in press). Children infer affiliative and status relations from watching others imitate. Developmental Science.

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (submitted). Three-year-old children identify more strongly with ingroup members than outgroup members within the minimal group paradigm.

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (submitted). Young children use imitation communicatively.

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2013). The social side of imitation. Child Development Perspectives, 7, 6-11. [pdf]

Note: An updated version of this paper will be reprinted in Z. Radman (Ed.), Interpersonality and social cognition [Special issue]. Synthesis philosophica.

Over, H., Carpenter, M., Spears, R., & Gattis, M. (2013). Children selectively trust individuals who have imitated them. Social Development, 22, 215-425. [pdf]

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2012). Imitative learning in humans and animals. In N. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning (pp. 1499-1501). Springer. [online]

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2012). Putting the social into social learning: Explaining both selectivity and fidelity in children's copying behavior. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126, 182-192. [pdf]

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2009). Eighteen-month-old infants show increased helping following priming with affiliation. Psychological Science, 20, 1189-1193. [pdf]

Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (2009). Priming third-party ostracism increases affiliative imitation in children. Developmental Science, 12, F1-F8. [pdf]

Plötner, M., Over, H., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (submitted). A comparison of the effects of collaboration and minimal-group membership on children’s prosocial behavior, liking, affiliation, and trust.

Plötner, M., Over, H., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (in press). Young children show the bystander effect in helping situations. Psychological Science.

Song, R., Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (submitted). Children draw more affiliative pictures following priming with third-party ostracism.

Song, R., Over, H., & Carpenter, M. (submitted). Young children discriminate genuine from fake smiles.

Last updated: January 14, 2015