Toddler learning from video: Effect of matched pedagogical cues

Alexis R. Lauricella*, Rachel Barr, Sandra L. Calvert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Toddlers learn about their social world by following visual and verbal cues from adults, but they have difficulty transferring what they see in one context to another (e.g., from a screen to real life). Therefore, it is important to understand how the use of matched pedagogical cues, specifically adult eye gaze and language, influence toddlers’ imitation from live and digital presentations. Fifteen- and 18-month-old toddlers (N = 123) were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions or a baseline control condition. The four experimental conditions differed as a function of the interactive cues (audience gaze with interactive language or object gaze with non-interactive language) and presentation type (live or video). Results indicate that toddlers’ successfully imitate a task when eye gaze was directed at the object or at the audience and equally well when the task was demonstrated live or via video. All four experimental conditions performed significantly better than the baseline control, indicating learned behavior. Additionally, results demonstrate that girls attended more to the demonstrations and outperformed the boys on the imitation task. In sum, this study demonstrates that young toddlers can learn from video when the models use matched eye gaze and verbal cues, providing additional evidence for ways in which the transfer deficit effect can be ameliorated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Eye gaze
  • Gender
  • Imitation
  • Interaction
  • Learning
  • Media
  • Pedagogical cues
  • Toddler
  • Transfer
  • Trasnsfer deficit
  • Video

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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