ERIC Number: ED265933
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Influence of Television on Children's Attentional Abilities.
Anderson, Daniel R.
The purpose of this review is to determine the scientific status of the proposition that viewing television in general or viewing "Sesame Street" in particular affects children's attentional skills, abilities, or behaviors. It has been frequently claimed that television viewing negatively affects children's attentional abilities. The most common complaint is that rapid scene changes and movements on many television programs foster short attention spans. On these grounds, "Sesame Street" is sometimes cited as negatively affecting attentional abilities in its young viewers because the program uses short segments and varied pacing. Research literatures in communication, education, medicine, and psychology were extensively searched. A total of 10 relevant studies were found, four of which dealt with "Sesame Street." The research indicates that television may affect attentional abilities in children. Contrary to claims by journalists and educators, the effects appear to be positive as well as negative. Viewing of "Sesame Street" in particular is associated with an increase in desirable attentional skills and behaviors. Because relatively few studies have examined the effects of television viewing on attention and because many of the studies have methodological shortcomings, conclusions should be considered tentative. (RH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Children's Television Workshop, New York, NY.