New research shows that children’s character Elmo is more effective in helping toddlers learn basic skills than if the toddlers were taught by unrecognizable faces.
Researchers from the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University conducted an experiment using three groups of 21-month-old toddlers. The first group watched a video of an Elmo puppet placing nesting cups inside one another, the second group saw the same task being performed by an unknown character puppet with the same Elmo-like voice, and the third group did not watch a video.
When applying what they had learned to their own nesting cups, the first group was able to complete the task significantly better than both the second and third groups. The first group was also more likely to smile and say the character’s name.
This research provides information about the way that toddlers process information in the early developmental stages. The toddlers were more receptive to the ideas being presented by a trusted identity. The children were also not required to use valuable working memory to process an unfamiliar face, leaving more memory to be devoted to the task at hand.
For more information on the Children’s Digital Media Center, visit http://cdmc.georgetown.edu/.
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