ERIC Number: ED309879
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Discriminating Real from Make-Believe on Television: A Developmental Study.
Condry, John; Freund, Susan
In order to determine when children distinguish the real from the fictional in television programing, 170 adults and 157 children from 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades were shown 40 "bits" of television, each 5 seconds in length and representative of a wide range of program types. Subjects were asked to classify as real or make-believe 18 "factual" bits, 18 "fictional" bits, and 4 commercials. Findings revealed that even the youngest subjects were able to differentiate clearly fictional from clearly factual material. However, second graders had difficulty with material that was dramatic but realistic, such as evening drama and situation comedies. Fourth and sixth graders were significantly more accurate than second graders in making such judgments. Although second and fourth graders were better able to judge fiction than fact, sixth graders, like adults, were equally good at distinguishing these two dimensions. Results suggest that while children have some ability to distinguish fact from fiction early in life, they appear to develop schema for understanding fantasy before they come to understand the category of factual or real. Judgments of reality are more difficult, take longer, and require a wider knowledge of television and the real world than judgments of make-believe. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY. Dept of Human Development and Family Studies.
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development (Kansas City, MO, April 27-30, 1989).