Empirical findings and theorizations of both imitation and selective trust offer different views on and interpretations of children’s social learning mechanisms. The imitation literature provides ample documentation of children’s behavioural patterns in the acquisition of socially appropriate norms and practices. The selective trust literature provides insights into children’s cognitive processes of choosing credible informants and what information to learn in future interactions. In this paper, we place together findings from both fields and note that they share analogically similar theoretical underpinnings and offer explanations that are complementary to each other. We contend that children’s imitative tendency may be due to their selection of in-group members as cultural experts, who serve as reliable sources of conventional information. Moving forward, we note the importance of evaluating individual differences and cultural factors to provide a more holistic understanding of universality and variation in children’s social learning mechanisms.