"Significantly different from No reminder and New action and object at reinstatement conditions at p < .05.

Source: Sheffield (in press)

unable to use photographs as reminders (Sheffield & Hudson, 2004), could both be interpreted in terms of the amount of similarity between a reminder and the referent event. The first study (Sheffield, 2004, Experiment 2) suggests that deleting some information may not interfere with children's ability to notice a similarity between a reminder and their past experience, but changing information can prevent children from seeing the reminder as similar to their past experience. In the second investigation (Sheffield & Hudson, 2004), videos were effective as reminders for 18-month-olds, but photographs were not. Photographs may have been ineffective reminders for this age group because there was little event information provided in the photographs as compared to the video. However, results from Sheffield (2004) showing that videos that did not include action information but simply showed a person holding and describing target objects were effective as reminders suggests that differences in the media may also affect memory reinstatement.

Even if the medium of representation does influence children's use of reminders, research suggests that the timing and perhaps the sequence of development of representational understanding may be different for reminding tasks than for the object retrieval task used by DeLoache and her colleagues. Children as young as 18 months can use videos as reminders to reinstate event memories well before they are able to use video information to guide their search behavior (Troseth & DeLoache, 1998). However, it is not yet known when children are able to use photographs or scale models as reminders.

Because our previous investigation of toddlers' abilities to use photographs as reminders was inconclusive with regard to 24-month-olds, we designed a second study to test whether 24- and 30-month-olds could be reminded of an event by viewing unnarrated photographs (Deocampo & Hudson, 2003). Thirty-month-olds were included because that is the age at which DeLoache and Burns (1994) found that children first succeed at the object-retrieval task using photographs, showing evidence of understanding of the symbolic nature of photographs. A deferred imitation paradigm was used to test children's recall of activities learned in the laboratory. Twenty-four- and 30-month-olds watched an experimenter model three novel activities in a laboratory playroom, but children were not allowed to attempt to imitate those activities. After a delay of 2 weeks for 24-month-olds or 4 weeks for 30-month-olds, the children returned to the laboratory. These retention intervals were determined to be sufficiently long for forgetting to occur for each age group. After the delay, half of the children in each age group received a photograph reminder while the other half participated in an experience unrelated to the previously modeled activities. For each age group, the reminder consisted of a photo album containing 6 photographs: one photograph of each of the activities modeled during the training session (trained activities) as well one photograph of each of three new activities (untrained activities). The experimenter did not provide any verbal narration other than "Look at this." After the reminder or unrelated experience, the children were taken to the toys in the laboratory playroom and encouraged to try to perform all six of the activities, trained and untrained. For the reminder condition, the three tasks that each child did not observe but which were depicted in the photographs (untrained activities) served as a within-subject control to make sure that the children could not figure out how to perform the tasks by just looking at the photographs. For the no reminder condition, untrained activities served as a within-subject control to make sure that naive children could not spontaneously perform the experimental tasks.

Results showed that although 30-month-olds performed significantly more trained activities at the recall test than did 24-month-olds, children in the reminder condition at both ages performed equally more trained activities than did children in the no reminder condition. There were no age or condition differences in performance of untrained activities (see Figure 9.5). These results indicate that both 24- and 30-month-olds are capable of using photograph reminders to reinstate event memories. Thus, the symbolic medium of photographs is not itself a barrier to reinstatement for children as young as 24-month-olds. As discussed earlier, photographs are ineffective reminders for 18-month-olds (Sheffield & Hudson, 2004), so 24-month-olds' ability to be reminded by photographs represents a developmental achievement. This shows that as children age they are able to use more abstract representations as reminders of past experiences.

Finding Your Confidence

Finding Your Confidence

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