The social function of imitation in severe dementia

Arlene J. Astell*, Maggie P. Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We report the case of Jessie, an individual with severe Alzheimer's disease. Over two sessions, we examine Jessie's spontaneous conversation behaviour and urge to communicate using the 'still face' paradigm. Spontaneous and deliberate imitation are also examined to identify their importance in social interactions in severe dementia. Although Jessie has difficulty producing meaningful conversation, she retains the urge to communicate and participate in social interactions. These results confirm the importance of imitation in facilitating and maintaining people with communication problems in the social world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes

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