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Rational imitation for robots

Winfield, Alan F.T.; Vanderelst, Dieter; Winfield, Alan F


Alan F.T. Winfield

Dieter Vanderelst


Elio Tuci

Alexandros Giagkos

Myra Wilson

John Hallam


Infants imitate behaviour flexibly. Depending on the circumstances, they copy both actions and their effects or only reproduce the demonstrator’s intended goals. In view of this selective imitation, infants have been called rational imitators. The ability to selectively and adaptively imitate behaviour would be a beneficial capacity for robots. Indeed, selecting what to imitate is one of the outstanding unsolved problems in the field of robotic imitation. In this paper, we first present a formalized model of rational imitation suited for robotic applications. Next, we test and demonstrate it using two humanoid robots.


Vanderelst, D., & Winfield, A. F. (2016). Rational imitation for robots. In M. Wilson, J. Hallam, E. Tuci, & A. Giagkos (Eds.), From Animals to Animats 14, 55-66. Springer.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Print ISSN 0302-9743
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9825
Pages 55-66
Series Title Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Book Title From Animals to Animats 14
Keywords robot imitation, rational imitation, social learning
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The final publication is available at Springer via