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Child Dev. 1999 Sep-Oct;70(5):1067-81.

Developmental changes in imitation from television during infancy.

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Psychology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Infants' (N = 276) ability to learn from television under seminaturalistic conditions was examined in five experiments with 12-, 15-, and 18-month-olds. In all experiments, an adult performed a series of specific actions with novel stimuli. Some infants watched the demonstration live, and some infants watched the same demonstration on television from prerecorded videotape. Infants' ability to reproduce the target actions was then assessed either immediately or after a 24-hour delay. Infants of all ages exhibited imitation when the actions were modeled live. There were age-related and task-related differences, however, in infants' ability to imitate the same actions modeled on television. The role of perceptual, attentional, and cognitive development in the ability to learn from television is discussed.

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