ERIC Number: ED216355
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Four Young Children Construct Reality: Television Watching in the Home.
According to J. Piaget, the child continually constructs or refines previous constructions in defining reality. Taking Piaget's lead, a study attempted to describe how children construct reality, with particular emphasis on the role of television in that construction. Four young children were observed and audio taped in viewing situations in their homes. Data were analyzed for recurring patterns that would suggest ways in which the young children were structuring the reality of their world as that world involved television. It appeared that there were three things that influenced young children when they attempted to deal with questions about reality: (1) experiential background, (2) state of development (Piaget), and (3) the rule making that children engage in when cued to move to more abstract thinking in which they may feel somewhat less comfortable or which they may view as unnecessary. The findings suggest that the young child is an active communicator, manipulating the television situation and even the television messages (through performance) in order to apply meaning to what is being observed. In applying meaning, the child uses and eventually overgeneralizes rules, consistent with experiential background and stage of development, to make sense of television in his or her culture. Repetition in commercials and cartoons, often boring and annoying to adults, appears to be of assistance in helping the child apply meaning to television material. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Research prepared at Indiana University.