ERIC Number: ED084537
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Stimulus Complexity in Children's Attention to Television Commercials: A Developmental Study.
Wartella, Ellen; Ettema, James S.
A child whose behavior reflects only perception of a stimulus and reaction to it is considered more perceptually bound than an adult whose behavior is also directed by theories, values, and ideas. Based on this analysis three testable hypotheses emrege: (1) stimulus complexity is a better predictor of attention for the more perceptually bound, (2) the less perceptually bound, the more likely the individual would be to recall non-perceptual attributes of stimuli, and (3) the less perceptually bound, the more likely the individual would be to respond affectively to the non-perceptual attributes of the stimuli. Television commercials were chosen as the stimuli in a study in which 120 nursery, kindergarten, and second grade children from upper-middle-class neighborhoods in St. Paul, Minnesota, viewed a videotaped presentation of "The Partridge Family." The original commercials were deleted from the tape and commercials controlled for stimulus complexity and content were inserted. During and after the program, tests were administered to measure the children's degree of perceptual boundedness and the nature of their recall and affective responses to the commercials. Resulting data suggest that the younger the child, the greater the influence of perceptual attributes of stimuli on his attention behavior. (EE)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Child Development (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Student paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (Colorado Springs, Colo., August, 1973)