Young Children's Use of Video as a Source of Socially Relevant Information


  • This research was supported by Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and by NICHD grants to the first author (HD-044751) and to the Kennedy Center of Vanderbilt University (P30-HD-15052). We thank Kara Johnson, Jami Peterson, Jennifer Behnke, Brian Verdine, and Matt Loftus for help in data collection; Tim Laurence for library and reference assistance; Amy Crawford, Missy Grahn, Jenny Schiwinger, and Kate Hilton for coding and scheduling; and Rose Vick for her many contributions to this research.

concerning this article should be addressed to Georgene Troseth, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203-5721. Electronic mail may be sent to


Although prior research clearly shows that toddlers have difficulty learning from video, the basis for their difficulty is unknown. In the 2 current experiments, the effect of social feedback on 2-year-olds' use of information from video was assessed. Children who were told “face to face” where to find a hidden toy typically found it, but children who were given the same information by a person on video did not. Children who engaged in a 5-min contingent interaction with a person (including social cues and personal references) through closed-circuit video before the hiding task used information provided to find the toy. These findings have important implications for educational television and use of video stimuli in laboratory-based research with young children.