Video and Photograph Reinstatement in 18Month Olds

Children's ability to perform actions on three-dimensional objects after viewing a two-dimensional television representation suggests that video representations could also be used as reminders. It may not be necessary for children to understand the representational nature of video images for those images to act as reminders capable of cueing children's recall. Reinstatement may occur rather automatically if enough attributes on a two-dimensional display match the attributes contained in a child's original experience. Thus, the process of reinstatement may not require a child to understand the relationship between a representation and the physical world, as long as the attributes of the representational reminder are similar enough to the physical display.

A series of experiments tested whether toddlers could be reminded of a past event by watching a video simulation of their original experience (Sheffield & Hudson, 2004). Although video simulations provide as much information as viewing a live model, they are presented in a representational format and are not live events. Viewing a video simulation would only be effective in reinstating children's event memory if children were able to relate their internal memory representation of the event to the external, video representation of the event.

Effects of Video Reminders

This study was similar in design to our reenactment experiments. Eighteen-month-olds were trained to perform eight novel, two-step activities and returned to the laboratory for a reminder session 2 weeks later as in the original reenactment experiment. However, in this experiment, we tested effects of different kinds of reminders in the 2-week reinstatement session. Children in a reenactment condition physically reenacted all of the activities as in prior studies. For children in the video reinstatement condition, however, the reminder sessions consisted of returning to the laboratory to view a videotape depicting a preschool child performing the original activities with an experimenter similar to their initial training sessions. All the props associated with the original event were removed from the playroom during the video reminder session. Recall was assessed 8 weeks later (10 weeks after training) when children returned to the laboratory for testing (see Table 9.3). A third group of children in the no reminder condition were tested for recall 10 weeks after training, but did not receive any reminder. Although all props were removed from the playroom in the video reminder condition, it is still possible that simply returning to the laboratory context could reinstate children's memories. Boller et al. (1990) found that 3-month-old infants could be reminded of past training by exposure to the training context. To control for context effects, another group of children in the video reinstatement control condition were trained to perform the activities and also returned to the laboratory 2 weeks late and

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