Infant and Child Development

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Volume 21 Issue 5 (September/October 2012), Pages i-ii, 443-554

Infant Contingency Learning in Different Cultural Contexts (pages 458-473)

  • Author(s): Frauke Graf, Bettina Lamm, Claudia Goertz, Thorsten Kolling, Claudia Freitag, Sibylle Spangler, Ina Fassbender, Manuel Teubert, Marc Vierhaus, Heidi Keller, Arnold Lohaus, Gudrun Schwarzer, Monika Knopf
  • Published 02 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1002/icd.1755

Three‐month‐old Cameroonian Nso farmer and German middle‐class infants were compared regarding learning and retention in a computerized mobile task. Infants achieving a preset learning criterion during reinforcement were tested for immediate and long‐term retention measured in terms of an increased response rate after reinforcement and after a 24‐h delay compared with baseline. It was hypothesized that infants from both cultural communities would acquire the contingency between own motion and mobile movement, as they similarly experience contingent responses in social interactions. Nso infants were assumed to show a higher learning rate related to their advanced gross motor development, whereas German infants were expected to show a higher baseline because of culture‐typical motor handling promoting a high level of activity (i.e. lying supine). Results showed immediate and long‐term retention in infants from both cultural contexts, as well as a higher baseline for German infants. Although the learning rate was higher for Cameroonian infants, logistic regression revealed that learning was not related to gross motor development but depended on the level of baseline response. Thus, contingency learning was shown in different cultural environments, and the level of baseline activity coined by culture‐specific motor handling turned out to influence learning within the mobile task. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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