ERIC Number: ED075096
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Mar-30
Reference Count: 0
Developmental Aspects of Understanding and Evaluating Television Content.
Collins, W. Andrew
Age differences affect children's understanding and evaluation of television content, and these differences may be related to social behavior after watching television. One type of age-related changes concerns changes in the cognitive skills that children must use to comprehend content. Studies have shown that children as old as third graders remember little of a plot, that children's knowledge of the motives and consequences for aggression increase with age, as do their abilities to reconstruct sequences and identify causal relationships. These qualitative changes reflect cognitive growth involving learning of task-relevant cues, aspects of memory, improvement of selective attention and inferential abilities. A second type of age-related changes concerns changes in the bases that children use for evaluating social acts in general. Studies have shown that children of different ages are likely to use different criteria for evaluating a televised model's actions; there is a major shift at about age nine or ten from consequences-based to motive-based evaluations of actions. These age differences should be a major concern in future work on the television viewing-social behavior relationship. For very young children, representations of aggressive acts they have seen on television often stand along as guides for later behavior, while older viewers are much more likely to have a representation of the action modified by knowledge of the motives and consequences associated with it. Studies of the idea of a cognitive mediator, a conceptualization of the mechanism for the effect of a single television program, are underway. Apparently the temporal contiguity of motives, aggression, and consequences facilitates comprehension for younger children. (KM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Inst. of Child Development .
Note: Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 30, 1973)