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Repetition in infant-directed action depends on the goal structure of the object: Evidence for statistical regularities

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Adults automatically adjust their speech and actions in a way that may facilitate infants' processing (e.g., Brand, Baldwin, & Ashburn, 2002). This research examined whether mothers' use of repetition for infants depended on whether the object being demonstrated required a series of actions in sequence in order to reach a salient goal (called an "enabling" sequence). Mothers (n = 39) demonstrated six objects, three with an enabling sequence and three with an arbitrary sequence, to their 6- to 8- or 11- to 13-month-olds. As predicted, in demonstrations of objects with an enabling sequence, mothers were more likely to repeat series of actions, whereas for those without such structure, mothers were more likely to repeat individual units of action. This may or may not have been deliberately pedagogical on mothers' part, but nevertheless indicates another way in which input to infants is richly patterned to support their learning.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-12-01

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