Lamont, A, Rose, S and Reyland, N (2021) Watching television in a home environment: effects on children's attention, problem solving and comprehension. Media Psychology. ISSN 1521-3269

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Correlational studies have suggested some harmful effects of television viewing in early childhood, especially for the viewing of fast-paced entertainment programs. However, this has not been consistently supported by experimental studies, many of which have lacked ecological validity. The current study explores the effects of pace of program on the attention, problem solving and comprehension of 41 3- and 4-year-olds using an ecologically valid experimental design. Children were visited twice at home; on each visit they were shown an episode of a popular animated entertainment program which differed in pace: one faster paced, one slower paced. Children’s behavior was coded for attention and arousal during viewing, attention and effort on a problem-solving task after viewing, and performance on unrelated (problem-solving) and related (program comprehension) tasks. The faster-paced program was attended to more, while 3-year-olds showed more attention and effort on the problem-solving task after watching the slower program, but there were no significant differences in performance on unrelated or related tasks depending on pace. The lack of differences observed in this naturalistic setting together with the high levels of comprehension of the programs watched provides some evidence to counter the ‘harm’ perceived in young children watching fast-paced entertainment programs.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: television, child development, problem-solving, pace attention
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF712 Developmental psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2021 13:51
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2022 01:30

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