In order to test the effectiveness of ridicule as an educational and social corrective in children's educational television programs, arbitrary activities involving a novel object were performed by a Muppet model, videotaped, and presented to 4- and 6-year-olds. In each of three conditions of type of motivational message (ridicule, command, suggestion), a highly specific action was discouraged, another was encouraged, and a third was neither discouraged nor encouraged. The frequency with which subjects played with the novel object served as a measure of imitation. Four-year-olds consistently responded most effectively to correction when commands were given. In sharp contrast, 6-year-olds were most responsive to ridicule and least responsive to command.