Contingent computer interactions for young children's object retrieval success

Alexis R. Lauricella, Tiffany A. Pempek, Rachel Barr, Sandra L. Calvert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Seventy-two children, ages 30 and 36 months, participated in a hide-and-seek object retrieval game in one of three conditions: 1) playing an interactive computer game; 2) observing a video; or 3) observing an adult find the hidden characters through a one-way mirror. After exposure, children searched for the three characters in a playroom designed to look just like the room in the game. Children who played the interactive computer game and who observed the live demonstration performed significantly better on the search task than children who observed the video. The results suggest that children's learning from a screen can be improved by contingent, interactive experiences with media. These findings can help producers create online games that facilitate children's skills at linking what they do on a screen to real-life experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-369
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Children
  • Computers
  • Contingency
  • Object retrieval
  • Television
  • Video deficit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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