ERIC Number: ED428879
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Young Children's Comprehension of Television: The Role of Visual Information and Intonation.
Fisch, Shalom M.; Brown, Susan K. McCann; Cohen, David I.
Several current television series for preschool children convey stories, not through meaningful dialogue, but through visual information and intonational cues embedded within nonsensical dialogue. This study examined young children's ability to construct meaning from such materials. Participating were 135 preschoolers, 3 to 5 years old. Subjects viewed two 5-minute television segments about a family of chickens; approximately one-half of the sample viewed the segments with all dialogue spoken in nonsensical "chicken-talk," and one-half viewed it with key English words and phrases inserted among the "chicken-talk" dialogue. In addition, one segment was expected to be easier to understand because the central educational message (concerning cooperation) was primarily visual, while the other (telling the truth) was primarily verbal. After viewing each segment, the children were interviewed to assess their comprehension of the overall storyline, as well as the central messages embedded within the segment. The findings indicated that comprehension was significantly stronger among the older children and (across the age range) for the more visual story about cooperation. However, contrary to expectations from past literature, comprehension was not significantly enhanced by the inclusion of English words and phrases. Thus, it appears that preschool children can use visual information and intonational cues to construct meaning from televised narratives. (Contains 15 references.) (Author/KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Children's Television Workshop, New York, NY.
Note: Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (63rd, Albuquerque, NM, April 15-18, 1999).