Scale Model Reinstatement in 24Month Olds

To further test children's ability to use representational reminders, in another experiment, we administered a reminder task to 24-month-olds using a scale model. The procedure for both the training and long-term retention test sessions was the same as for the 24-month-old reminder group described above (Deocampo & Hudson, 2003) except that the reminder treatment consisted of the children watching as an experimenter reenacted all of the previously trained and untrained activities inside a miniature model of the playroom using miniature replicas of the toys. DeLoache and colleagues' (e.g., DeLoache, 1990; DeLoache & Burns, 1994; DeLoache et al., 1996; Troseth & DeLoache, 1998) dual representation hypothesis would predict that understanding the symbolic nature of a scale model would be more difficult than understanding the symbolic nature of photographs because scale models are more salient as objects. However, we predicted that it might actually be easier for children to use a scale model than a photograph as a reminder because the scale model reminder provides more event information in that it is three-dimensional, it contains motion information, and it contains information about the beginning, end, and all in-between states of an activity rather than a static image of one state. As discussed earlier, the amount of information provided may be more important than representational understanding for the successful use of representational media as reminders. Thus, we hypothesized that although children are unable to succeed at the object retrieval task using a scale model until the age of 36 months, 24-month-olds might be able to use a scale model reenactment as a reminder.

Results showed that 24-month-olds who received a scale model reminder recalled significantly more than did 24-month-olds from the previous experiment who received either no reminder or a photograph reminder (see Figure 9.6). These findings are noteworthy in light of research on children's ability to use information from a scale model to retrieve hidden objects. In the object-retrieval task, children are unable to use information presented in a scale model to find a hidden toy until 36 months (DeLoache et al., 1996). These findings lend further support to the idea that the development of the

No reminder

Photo reminder

Model reminder

Figure 9.6 Mean trained and untrained recall proportion scores with standard error bars for 24-month-olds in photograph reminder, model reminder, and no reminder conditions (see Deocampo & Hudson, 2003, for full description of how proportions were calculated).

No reminder

Photo reminder

Model reminder

Figure 9.6 Mean trained and untrained recall proportion scores with standard error bars for 24-month-olds in photograph reminder, model reminder, and no reminder conditions (see Deocampo & Hudson, 2003, for full description of how proportions were calculated).

ability to use different representational media progresses in different sequences for reminding and object retrieval tasks. Further research is necessary to determine whether, perhaps, the ability to use scale models as reminders is in place even earlier than 24 months. If children are able to use scale models as reminders before 24 months, this would show that the ability to use particular representational reminders not only develops earlier than the ability to use the same representational medium in an object-retrieval task, but that the ability to use particular representational reminders develops in a different order than it does for the object-retrieval task. For memory reinstatement, the ability to use scale models as reminders may precede the ability to use photographs, but for object-retrieval tasks, the ability to use photographs as sources of location information precedes the ability to use scale models.

Although both photograph and scale model reminders were effective in reinstating 24-month-olds' recall, children recalled more activities with a scale model reminder than with a photograph reminder. This effect may be due to the fact that children who viewed a model reenactment were provided with more memory cues than children who viewed a single, static photograph. In addition, the scale model enactment may have seemed more similar to the stored memory than did the photograph reminder. However, recall of untrained activities was also higher in the model condition, suggesting that children may have been able to imitate some actions demonstrated by the experimenter during the scale model enactment. This interpretation would be consistent with imitation research by Barnat et al. (1996) showing that 14-month-olds were able to use full-sized props to imitate actions they had previously observed an experimenter perform using miniature objects in a different context. It is also consistent with research demonstrating that memory performance is best when older children participate in an event, better when they watch another person enact activities, and worse when they are merely told of the event (Muchaver, Pipe, Gordon, Owens, & Fivush, 1996).

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