The role of demonstrator familiarity and language cues on infant imitation from television

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Seehagen, S. ; Herbert, J.S. (2010)
  • Publisher: Elsevier

An imitation procedure was used to investigate the impact of demonstrator familiarity and language cues on infant learning from television. Eighteen-month-old infants watched two pre-recorded videos showing an adult demonstrating a sequence of actions with two sets of stimuli. Infants' familiarity with the demonstrator and the language used during the demonstration varied as a function of experimental condition. Immediately after watching each video, infants' ability to reproduce the target actions was assessed. A highly familiar demonstrator did not enhance infants' performance. However, the addition of a narrative, developed from mothers' naturalistic description of the event, facilitated learning from an unfamiliar demonstrator. We propose that the differential effect of demonstrator familiarity and language cues may reflect the infants' ability to distinguish between important and less important aspects in a learning situation. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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