Data from: Re-analysis of data reveals no evidence for neonatal imitation in rhesus macaques
Redshaw, Jonathan (2019), Data from: Re-analysis of data reveals no evidence for neonatal imitation in rhesus macaques, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.b3g0n1j
Over the past decade, a growing number of publications have claimed to provide evidence for the existence and function of neonatal imitation in rhesus macaques. Here I show that there is in fact no empirical basis for these claims. Studies of the phenomenon have consistently failed to implement the gold standard cross-target analytical approach, which controls for increases in matching responses that may not be a function of the specific modelled behaviour. Critically, a preregistered re-analysis of the entire set of existing data using this cross-target approach shows that macaque neonates have failed to produce matching tongue protrusion or lipsmacking responses at levels greater than chance. Furthermore, there is no evidence for intra-individual consistency in “imitative” responses across different actions, as imitation scores for the two actions are negatively correlated with each other. Macaque tongue protrusion and lipsmacking responses may vary as a function of general factors that fluctuate over testing sessions, rather than as a function of the specific model or of between-individual variations in imitative tendencies.