Although research on action imitation in children indicates children represent action according to a goal-directed hierarchy, no previous research has investigated which characters of action influence the representation of goals. This dissertation introduced action complexity as a main variant into children’s action memory research for the first time, to explore the effects of action complexity and familiarity on action learning and memory. Using elaborately selected tool-use action video clips of different complexity and familiarity from Chinese and German cultures, the imitation and recognition paradigms experiments were conducted among Chinese and German preschoolers. In a first experiment with Chinese children, the results indicated that preschooler’s imitation performance is influenced by both action complexity and familiarity. Furthermore, an interesting imitation error pattern was discovered: when imitating simple actions children made more means than end errors, whereas more end errors were made for complex actions. A second experiment with both Chinese and German children confirmed the result pattern observed in the first experiment, using a different group and bigger amount of action materials. Performances showed a high cross-cultural stability, which indicates that action imitation is a basic learning mechanism thereby uninfluenced by cultures. The results of a third experiment with cross-cultural children and materials of different cross-cultural familiarity, confirmed the interaction between imitation error type and complexity, and revealed the culture difference through familiarity difference. Preschoolers’ recognition performance in a cross-cultural setting was examined in a fourth experiment. Children displayed a significant tendency to recognize action end better than action means, regardless of the complexity and familiarity of action. Furthermore, no cross-cultural differences were explored. The last experiment was conducted to explore the developmental difference of action recognition between Chinese adults and children. Adults’ recognition performances were better than children as we expected, which confirmed our hypothesis that the capacity of working memory influences action memory. Children’s recognition pattern seemed influenced more by action complexity, while adults’ impacted more by action familiarity. Gender differences were found only among adults. Women showed an advantage over men at correct rejection of changed actions, especially at correct rejection of means-changed actions. Overall, the results of this dissertation suggest a new Dual Processing Model of action imitation and recognition in preschoolers, and open a discussion about the difference between imitation and recognition mechanisms in healthy children. These findings have implications for contemporary theories of action processing, point to commonalities in the mechanism of action memory in different cultures, and open the door for future research into the development of action memory organization.