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Imitation is an advanced behaviour whereby an individual observes and replicates anothers; the conscious or unconscious process through which creative ideas and innovations are diffused throughout a society. Imitation favours co-production or technology and cultural values and facilitates the continuity of culture. Gabriele Tarde (1890) formulated the 'laws of imitation, ' for example, that the inventions most easily imitated are similar to those already institutionalized, that imitation tends to descend from social superior to social inferior, and that the greater cosmopoliteness of innovators (than of later adopters) is one reason for their early acceptance on new ideas. Tarde's ideas was furthered by Everett Rogers (1962) to explain the 'diffusion of innovation' and influenced the development of memetics.

The contemporary view on imitation and social learning suggest that imitation is realized in a double way: personal ('person to person') and impersonal ('idea to idea'). Personal influence realized directly is associated with mentors and that realized indirectly with role models.

Imitation. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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