Do semantic contextual cues facilitate transfer learning from vidwo in toddlers?

Laura Zimmermann
Alecia Moser
Amanda Grenell
Kelly Dickerson
Qianwen Yao
Peter Gerhardstein, Binghamton University--SUNY
Rachel Barr


Young children typically demonstrate a transfer deficit, learning less from video than live presentations. Semantically meaningful context has been demonstrated to enhance learning in young children. We examined the effect of a semantically meaningful context on toddlers imitation performance. Two- and 2.5-year-olds participated in a puzzle imitation task to examine learning from either a live or televised model. The model demonstrated how to assemble a three-piece puzzle to make a fish or a boat, with the puzzle demonstration occurring against a semantically meaningful background context (ocean) or a yellow background (no context). Participants in the video condition performed significantly worse than participants in the live condition, demonstrating the typical transfer deficit effect. While the context helped improve overall levels of imitation, especially for the boat puzzle, only individual differences in the ability to self-generate a stimulus label were associated with a reduction in the transfer deficit.