Date of Award:

12-2019

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee

Tyra P. Sellers

Committee

Sarah E. Pinkelman

Committee

Anne Larson

Abstract

Infants begin to learn important skills, such as contingency learning, social referencing, and joint attention through everyday interactions with their environment. When infants learn that their behavior produces a change in the environment (e.g., attention from others), infants engage in behavior that produces that effect (e.g., increases in smiling sustained engagement. When mothers and other caregivers respond immediately to infant behavior, they help their infant learn that the infant’s own behavior is effective, producing a change in the environment. The current investigation evaluated the effect of a computer-based training that aimed at teaching mothers to play a vocal-imitation contingency-learning game. The training included observer-effect methodology, meaning the mothers engaged in observation and evaluation of other mothers engaging in vocal imitation but did not themselves receive any direct coaching or feedback. All mothers completed the training during one session and in less than 45 min. Results indicate that all mothers increased their use of vocal imitation post training and maintained their performance at a two-week follow-up. Results are discussed in terms of how computer training may facilitate dissemination of responsive caregiver training.

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