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ERIC Number: ED176848
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
A Theory of the Active Nature of Young Children's Television Viewing.
Anderson, Daniel R.; Lorch, Elizabeth Pugzles
Studies investigating selected aspects of children's television viewing are described and the findings are used as the basis of a theoretical formulation in which young children's television viewing is seen as a transactional process similar to other normal information processing activities. According to this formulation, the child's motivation to understand what he or she is viewing is a primary driving force of attention to television. Children develop a sophisticated strategy which allows them to effectively divide their visual attention between television and other activities, such as toy play. This strategy depends heavily on the children's use of program attributes as cues to whether the current content is or is not informative. If the attribute signals informative content, the child pays full attention to the television and actively attempts to understand the program. Attributes such as children's voices, peculiar voices, women's voices, sound effects, auditory changes, applause, and laughter have been shown to elicit and maintain looking at the television. It is argued that the effects of these attributes stem from the information which they provide the child about the likely comprehensibility of the content. For example, peculiar voices on television almost always mean content meant for children. It is suggested that with time, the child comes to learn these characteristics of the television medium and employ them to direct attention. (JMB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Children's Television Workshop, New York, NY.; National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, California, March 15-18, 1979)