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Title: Development of infant imitation : the role of social cues for learning and memory
Author: Seehagen , Sabine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 0763
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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Imitation research has made a significant contribution to our understanding of maturational changes in infant learning and memory (Hayne, 2004). However, surprisingly little is known about the role of the model, and interactions between infant and model, for encoding and retention in imitation procedures. This thesis provides a systematic investigation of how learning and memory are influenced by social cues infants encounter inside and outside the experimental situation. The present studies revealed that familiarity with a model impacts on 6-month-olds' imitative learning. In Experiments 1-2, infants were more likely to learn from a familiar model than from an unfamiliar model when tested in a familiar (home) environment. In an unfamiliar (laboratory) environment, learning was more likely to occur if the model was unfamiliar rather than familiar. By 9 months, infants showed equal levels of learning from familiar and unfamiliar models in an unfamiliar environment (Experiment 3). Experiments 4-5 demonstrated that I8-month-olds' learning was not influenced by model familiarity, even in a difficult imitation task (i.e., learning from televised demonstrations). Instead, learning was enhanced by the provision of language cues and by a training procedure that taught infants to perceive the televised model as a valuable source of real-world information. Finally, Experiments 6-7 investigated the effect of similarity with a model, rather than familiarity, on \5- and 24-month-olds' imitation. In Experiment 6, there was a shift from an adult- to a peer-model advantage: Increased age and exposure to same-aged infants augmented imitation from the peer model. No differences in learning from peers and adults were observed in Experiment 7 when the demonstrations were accompanied by language cues. This research revealed that infants become increasingly proficient in using social cues for learning and remembering. Furthermore, the relative effectiveness of different cues depends on the infants' developmental niche at the time of test.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available