Young Children’s Representational Understanding: The Effect of Experience with Live Video
Russo, Colleen Elizabeth
The current research examines the effect of experience with smartphone photography and live video on children’s ability to use representational media as a source of information to solve a current problem. In research conducted before the introduction of smartphones, 2½-year-old children were successful in finding a hidden object using videos and pictures, but 2-year-olds failed to use information from either pictorial medium. Experience with live video, however, improved young children’s object retrieval with both video and pictures. Because the previous research on this topic was conducted over a decade ago, changes in photo and video technology may give toddlers today experience that promotes their use of information from pictorial media. Two experiments with 24-month-olds are presented, one focusing on photos and the other on video. Results of experiment one suggest that highlighting the temporal contingency of digital photos aids children to understand and use photos as representations. Results of experiment two demonstrate that toddlers today (unlike toddlers a decade ago) extract verbal information provided on live video equally as well as information presented in person. Implications of the findings are discussed, as well as the role that experience plays in the development of children’s representational understanding.