Childrens Use of Video Representations in Imitation Tasks

Research showing that 2-year-olds are unable to take advantage of location information represented in photographs and video when searching for hidden objects suggests that they have limitations in understanding how symbolic media represent real-world, real-time events. This lack of understanding about the relationship between a representation and its real-world event referent could also impede 2-year-olds' ability to use symbolic representations as reminders of past events. However, children's ability to use representational information may vary in terms of the specific task at hand. Several studies have shown that very young children can imitate action sequences shown on video. Meltzoff (1988b) found that 14-month-olds were able to imitate action sequences they view on video monitor 1 day later and Barr and Hayne (1999) found that 18-month-olds could imitate tasks presented over video 24 hours later. These findings indicate that 1-year-old children can video encode and store information about actions viewed on a video monitor and retrieve that information to guide their own actions their own actions after a 24-hour delay. This ability may be sufficient for successful memory reinstatement using video information.

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