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Infant Behav Dev. 2008 Dec;31(4):696-703. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 Jun 2.

Reenactment of televised content by 2-year olds: toddlers use language learned from television to solve a difficult imitation problem.

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Department of Psychology, 306A White-Gravanor Building, Georgetown University, 3700 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20057, USA.


Parents commonly label objects on television and for some programs, verbal labels are also provided directly via voice-over. The present study investigated whether toddlers' imitation performance from television would be facilitated if verbal labels were presented on television via voice-over or if they were presented by parents who were co-viewing with their toddlers. Sixty-one 2-year olds were randomly assigned to one of four experimental groups (voice-over video, parent video, parent video no label, parent live) or to a baseline control condition. Toddlers were tested with novel objects after a 24h delay. Although, all experimental groups imitated significantly more target actions than the baseline control group, imitation was facilitated by novel labels regardless of whether those labels were provided by parents or by voice-over on television. These findings have important implications for toddler learning from television.

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