The effect of repetition on imitation from television during infancy

Dev Psychobiol. 2007 Mar;49(2):196-207. doi: 10.1002/dev.20208.


Although television exposure levels during infancy are high, the impact of such exposure on learning is relatively unknown. Initial studies have shown that infants imitate significantly fewer target actions from a televised demonstration than they imitate from a live demonstration. It was hypothesized that increasing the duration of exposure to the videotaped demonstration would increase learning from television. Independent groups of 12- to 21-month-olds were exposed to live or videotaped demonstrations of target actions, and imitation of the target actions was measured 24 hr later. The video segment duration was twice that of the live presentation. Doubling exposure increased levels of imitation performance in the video groups to that of the live groups, and both groups exceeded baseline performance. These results are consistent with the perceptual encoding impoverishment theory, and we conclude that repeated exposure enhances encoding of the target actions from a 2D television source.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior*
  • Infant
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Periodicity*
  • Television*
  • Transfer, Psychology