The Correspondence Problem

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The identification of any form of social learning, imitation, copying or mimicry presupposes a notion of correspondence between two autonomous agents. Judging whether a behaviour has been transmitted socially requires the observer to identify a mapping between the demonstrator and the imitator. If the demonstrator and imitator have similar bodies - for example, are animals of the same species, of similar age, and of the same gender - then to a human observer an obvious correspondence is to map the corresponding body parts: left arm of demonstrator maps to left arm of imitator, right eye of demonstrator maps to right eye of imitator, tail of demonstrator maps to tail of imitator. There is also an obvious correspondence of actions: raising the left arm by the model corresponds to raising the left arm by the imitator, production of vocal signals by the model corresponds to the production of acoustically similar ones by the imitator, picking up a fruit by the demonstrator corresponds to picking up a fruit of the same type by the imitator. Furthermore, there is a correspondence in sensory experience: audible sounds, a touch, visible objects and colours, and so on, evidently seem to be detected and experienced in similar ways. [opening paragraph]
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImitation in Animals and Artifacts, MIT Press
EditorsK. Dautenhahn, C.L. Nehaniv
PublisherMIT Press
ISBN (Print)0262042037, 9780262042031
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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