ERIC Number: ED262449
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-May
Reference Count: 0
Age Differences in Children's Perceptions of Message Intent: An Exploratory Study.
Blosser, Betsy J.; Roberts, Donald F.
To determine when and how children begin to differentiate among messages with different goals and to examine whether such differentiation leads to differences in interpretational strategies, 90 children between the ages of 4 and 11 viewed each of five different television messages representing four different message types. The types were: (1) informational (excerpts from network news); (2) persuasive (child-oriented commercials and adult-oriented commercials); (3) educational (excerpts from an instructional spot); and (4) mixed (child-oriented public service announcements). Immediately after viewing each message, children responded to open-ended interviews about message content, type, intent, believability, and belief criteria. It was found that comprehension of narrative content was high, even among the youngest children. Similarly, young children were able to identify messages for which common labels existed in the vernacular. However, few children ever attached labels to educational spots or public service announcements. Correct articulation of message intent took much longer; few children under the age of 8 years correctly identified the intent of any message type. There was also an age-related trend toward the use of functional cues to aid in message identification and a dramatic trend toward reality testing as the appropriate basis for evaluations of message believability. (Author/HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (35th, Honolulu, HI, May 23-27, 1985).