Forming a stable memory representation in the first year of life: Why imitation is more than child's play.
Lukowski, A.F., Wiebe, S.A., Haight, J.C., DeBoer, T., Nelson, C.A., & Bauer, P.J. (2005). Forming a stable memory representation in the first year of life: Why imitation is more than child's play. Developmental Science, 8(3), 279-298.
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Although 9-month-old infants are capable of retaining temporally ordered information over long delays, this ability is relatively fragile. It may be possible to facilitate long-term retention by allowing infants to imitate event sequences immediately after their presentation. The effects of imitation on immediate and delayed recognition and on long-term recall were investigated using event-related potentials (ERPs) and elicited imitation, respectively. Mnemonic facilitation resulting from the opportunity to imitate was apparent using both assessments. ERP assessments at immediate and delayed recognition tests suggested that infants who were allowed to imitate had stronger memory representations of familiar stimuli relative to infants who only viewed the presentation of the events. In addition, infants who were allowed to imitate evidenced higher levels of ordered recall after 1 month relative to infants who only watched the experimenter’s demonstration. Therefore, imitation proved to have beneficial effects on explicit memory in 9 1 / 2 -month-olds, providing evidence of its effectiveness as a tool to augment mnemonic capabilities in infancy.