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ERIC Number: ED140950
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Modeling the Medium: Effects of Formal Properties of Children's Television Programs.
Huston-Stein, Aletha; Wright, John C.
This paper discusses research on the effects of formal features of television programs on children's attention, comprehension, and social behavior. Formal features are defined as visual and auditory events which are not primarily a part of the content or message. Three models of the influences of form and content are discussed: (1) the observational learning model which posits that children imitate form the way they do content; (2) the satiation-habituation model which predicts that behavior which contrasts with dominant formal features should result from viewing; and (3) the general arousal model which posits that form and content combine to form a net total arousal that activates whatever behavior is cued in the situation. It is proposed that younger children and other inexperienced viewers respond directly to the most salient features of form and, to some extent, content as isolated attention getting features, whereas older children are more interested in content themes than in formal features. A sample of 19 commercial programs was examined for action, pace, variability, visual techniques and violent content. It was found that programs appealing to preschool children have shorter segments and higher levels of action, pace, variability and special visual effects than programs designed for elementary school children. It is noted that the change in content and form of programs appealing to older children follows the developmental changes proposed in Piagetian and other developmental theories. (SB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Kansas Univ., Lawrence.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (New Orleans, Louisiana, March 17-20, 1977) ; Chart may be marginally legible due to print quality of the original document