Toddlers learn better from humans

May 17, 2006 at 1:38 PM
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NASHVILLE, May 17 (UPI) -- Vanderbilt University researchers in Nashville conducted two experiments to better understand which type of video best engaged toddlers.

The researchers tested differences in learning from video and face-to-face interactions among 24 2-year-old children.

A woman on a TV screen told the children where to find a stuffed animal hidden in another room. For other children, the same woman told them the same information in person. The toddlers rarely found the stuffed animal after watching the TV woman, suggesting they just didn't believe or listen to her, but usually found the toy after the "real" interaction, according to the journal Child Development.

"It appears that toddlers do not perceive standard video as providing information that applies to the real world because they look to social cues such as eye contact and responsiveness to decide when to pay attention to what is being conveyed," said lead researcher Georgene L. Troseth, assistant professor of psychology.

"Because 2 year olds are more likely to learn from a person on video whom they perceive as a conversational partner, video in which two-way interaction has been established can be used to convey information."

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