This specific journal intended to explore further into children’s ability to learn through observation as past empirical research has suggested that children tend to rely on over-intimated modelled actions carried out by who the children deemed as role models. This journal consisted of two experiments, which included ‘a single misleading demonstration significantly impacts preschoolers’ planning and execution of familiar event sequence.’ (Freier et al. 2015). Results from Experiment 1 concluded that although the 3 – 5-year-old participants had adequate knowledge of the task, they still carried out irrelevant modelled actions into their own presentation. Experiment 2 found that when the task structure was spatially cued, pre-schoolers were no longer showed over-imitation in their performance. Overall, findings from both experiments implied that over-imitated behaviour was the result of inability to assess the vital links between procedural mechanisms of the sequence and the end results of the tasks.
Summary of the Journal
The purpose of this journal was to determine if natural actions have any effect on preschool children, the researchers carried out two experiments. They state that the imitation of behavior is a very critical element in the social domain which leads to the acquisition of early preceptors and cultural knowledge (Freier, 2015). Preschool children are noted to highly imitate the observed behavior which in some cases might include irrelevant elements. In the first experiment that was carried out 3-5-year-olds were presented with a demonstration of the target action that was misleading or an event that is unrelated. The researchers wanted to determine if the execution and planning of preschooler’s sequence of familiar events was influenced by the initial viewing of demonstrations that were misleading.
The second experiment was conducted with the aim of establishing if the enactment of misleading demonstrations by preschoolers is controlled by perceptual cues that are external. Only three-year-olds were used in the experiment. The finding of the results implied that three and five-year-olds have the ability to perform and plan the multistep target sequence that is familiar. The research was able to determine that even though preschoolers had the high familiarity with the target action their planning was controlled by a previous demonstration of the action and the existence of external cues in the task.
The first two introductory paragraphs of the article might confuse the intended reader due to their complexity and broadness regarding the topic. However, as the study progresses the writers focus on the topic, and makes it more comprehensible. The first experiment concentrated primarily on determining whether preschool children show over imitation in actions that are familiar to them. The preschoolers were presented with a misleading demonstration of the action that was required; they watched a video that showed someone wrapping a present and preparing a sandwich. Investigation carried out before the experiment concluded that the children were aware of meal preparing activities, parents were provided with questionnaires to provide information about their children. However, the validity of the information provided can be difficult to prove since the researchers relied on the words of the parents to choose children that had been exposed to that action. It is worth noting that such information can be biased since parents could relay what suited them rather than the actual happenings. The researchers should have exposed the children to the action for an extended period before experimenting; this would have proved that the children had prior exposure before the experiment was carried out. The information provided can be false since the researchers cannot confirm whether it is true.
While the children were viewing the video clip, it cannot be verified that the children had their full attention on the clip as it is a common knowledge that children within this age group will most likely have poor concentration skills and are easily distracted by other things within their environment. The first experiment seems to be centered much on the memory of the children which might create errors since the children might have varied concentration spans as this was not recorded, the researchers cannot justify that the high accounts of modeled task was due to sequential cues. The descriptive statistics that have been provided, add weight to the research and prove the reliability of the research and also shows the results concluded clearly.
Researchers recorded the experiment in order to increase the reliability of their results as it has inter-rater reliability and it can also be watched multiple times to ensure no mistakes were made in the results. The use of the video also ensured that the children would quickly comprehend what was being demonstrated. The recorded test sessions were later on transcribed by two independent coders who would provide their assessment which was an advantage since it would prove that the data provided is correct.
The number of boys and girls in the first experiment was 34 and 26 respectively while the second analysis had 32 girls and 28 boys (Freier, 2015). Nonetheless, for uniformity purposes of the results, the number should have been equal both for the boys and the girls. Summarizing the goals into relevant and irrelevant in table form enables the reader to visualize the contents of the video in the case where they cannot be able to see the actual video. To further allow the reader to envision the material of the video better a picture has been provided which ensures that the reader interprets the information quickly. The use of previous research to offer error rates in the first experiment is appropriate.
The study used ANOVA to analyze the performance measures, which is efficient since it is the preferred statistical method in dealing with multiple numbers of observations in research. The study was focused on learning from observations which in some cases can be difficult in real life since sequenced actions can be interrupted by other actions. The results that were found in the first experiment are conclusive and are in line with the previous studies that had been conducted which stated that the imitation of inappropriate actions increases from the age of three to five. The research did not demonstrate how the calculations were carried out. Though it would have consumed a lot of space, showcasing the method of calculating the results as opposed to merely stating the results enables an individual who does not know how to calculate, to understand how the figures had been arrived at and therefore provides easy interpretation. Data was presented in bar graphs which could be easily interpreted.
The experiment also receives credit since it was approved by the committee for institutional ethics and followed the declaration of Helsinki principles which are considered as the cornerstone of research ethics that are related to humans.
The researchers were able to examine their hypothesis that they had stated for the research where they had predicted that three to five-year-olds would be able to differently weight the demonstrations that are misleading. They expected that the younger children would find a difficulty in identifying sub-actions that were irrelevant showing a higher susceptibility to the actions context perceptual influences (Freier, 2015). The older children, on the other hand, were expected to be able to structure the events that had been observed in regards to specific procedural components and the relative outcomes. The questions that they set out to answer from the start have been well analyzed in the paper. They answered them through the experiments that were carried out.
The paper is presented in APA style guidelines with the researchers properly adhering to the formatting guidelines. The researchers were able to provide the correct in-text citations with the sources being correctly referenced. The article is well organized from the introduction to the methods, results, discussions the acknowledgments and finally the references. The researchers adequately reviewed the other external sources and they have been appropriately merged with the final article.
The research is critical as it adds knowledge to the gap that is available when it comes to the development of action processing during preschool years. The paper also contributes to adding awareness about the importance of imitating behaviors as a source that one can use to acquire knowledge. The observations that were made by the researchers are in line with the notion of young children’s goal representations. The information provided by the research is highly useful in monitoring child behavior and can be used by individuals who are interested in that specific field of study.
The article is relevant in providing readers with information about sequential actions in preschool children. The topic of over imitation in children was significantly tackled by the researchers, which adds knowledge to the research field. The scholars managed to conduct an experiment that proved that the social accounts of over imitation did not provide comprehensive details of the pattern of results that had been observed. Nonetheless, the study has some challenges regarding the method of data collection i.e. observation. Evidently, it is hard to find accurate results based on this approach. Moreover, information from the parents could be inaccurate. Irrespective of these drawbacks, the content presented by this study is relevant. Researchers who would like to carry out analyses in this type of area can; therefore, use this particular study as reference to further their research into imitation behaviour within the adolescent.