Effects of vicarious reward on infant observational learning: A deferred imitation study

2001 2001

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

A study of the effects of vicarious reward on infant observational learning was conducted. Thirty-six, 12–16 month old male and female infants were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: Reward, Neutral or Control. Infants in the Reward condition viewed a videotaped segment of an infant peer who was verbally rewarded/praised for performing 5 target acts with study toys. Infants in the Neutral condition viewed a silent presentation of the same videotaped segment. Infants in the Control group did not view a video segment. The number of target acts reproduced by infant subjects, following a 1-week delay, served as the dependent variable. Based on the tenets of Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1986), it was hypothesized that viewing a peer who was rewarded for their behavior would enhance infants' ability and/or proclivity to reproduce the observed behavior. It was anticipated that infant subjects who viewed the target acts would be significantly more likely to produce them than those who did not. Further, infants in the Reward condition were expected to imitate significantly more target acts than infants in both Neutral and Control conditions. Analyses of Variance revealed a significant main effect for condition, F(2, 36) = 3.71, p = .036. Taken together, infants who viewed video segments were not significantly more likely than those who did not to reproduce target behaviors, t = 1.34, p = .191. However, infants in the Reward condition did imitate significantly more target acts than infants in both Neutral and Control conditions, t = 2.36, p = .025. Findings indicate that infants may well be both aware of and influenced by praise directed at another (vicarious reinforcement). Environments that support/reinforce active play may enhance infant learning. Parent-infant groups may be considered viable treatment/intervention options.

Indexing (details)

Behaviorial sciences;
Cognitive therapy;
0384: Behaviorial sciences
0633: Cognitive therapy
0623: Psychology
0623: Experiments
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Imitation; Infant; Observational learning; Vicarious reward
Effects of vicarious reward on infant observational learning: A deferred imitation study
Schmitt, Mia L.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 62/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780493215167, 0493215166
Sossin, Mark
Pace University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.