ERIC Number: ED192416
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Reasoning about the Realities on Television: A Developmental Study. Technical Report No. 18.
Morison, Patricia; And Others
A study explored the means by which children apply knowledge of the television medium and of the real world in distinguishing among the levels of reality and fantasy presented on television. Fifty-four second-, fourth-, and sixth-grade children were presented with a series of paired (reality/fantasy) television shows. They were asked to choose which show in each pair was the more real and to supply the reasons for their choices. The results indicated that the children reached similar decisions about which shows were "more real." However, the reasons underlying those decisions showed distinct developmental differences. In comparing program content to real life, children began with rigid assessments of the actuality and possibility of the content, often focusing on specific physical elements; eventually, they began to apply more general and comprehensive evaluations of the plausibility of characters and plots. In addition, when applying their knowledge of television by citing television-specific criteria, children initially relied on the observable features of the medium and eventually moved toward an increased recognition of features that indicate the representational and fictionalized status of television. Other findings were that older children had an increased number of strategies that enabled them to assess a wider diversity of program types and that they had developed the ability to appreciate the realistic aspects of television as well as its fantasy elements. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, New York, NY.; National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Harvard Project Zero.