Infant imitation from television using novel touch screen technology

Br J Dev Psychol. 2009 Mar;27(Pt 1):13-26. doi: 10.1348/026151008x334700.


Infants learn less from a televised demonstration than from a live demonstration, the video deficit effect. The present study employs a novel approach, using touch screen technology to examine 15-month olds' transfer of learning. Infants were randomly assigned either to within-dimension (2D/2D or 3D/3D) or cross-dimension (3D/2D or 2D/3D) conditions. For the within-dimension conditions, an experimenter demonstrated an action by pushing avirtual button on a 2D screen or a real button on a 3D object. Infants were then given the opportunity to imitate using the same screen or object. For the 3D/2D condition, an experimenter demonstrated the action on the 3D object, and infants were given the opportunity to reproduce the action on a 2D touch screen (and vice versa for the 2D/3D condition). Infants produced significantly fewer target actions in the cross-dimension conditions than in the within-dimension conditions. These findings have important implications for infants' understanding and learning from 2D images and for their using 2D media as the basis of actions in the real world.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Comprehension
  • Depth Perception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Television*
  • Transfer, Psychology
  • User-Computer Interface*