A longitudinal study of the impact of background television on 6- and 12-month-old infants' attention during play

Setliff, Alissa E. (2010) A longitudinal study of the impact of background television on 6- and 12-month-old infants' attention during play. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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A longitudinal design was used to determine the effect of background television on infants' attention during play with toys. Infants at both 6 and 12 months of age were examined as they engaged in 20 minutes of free play with multiple toys. During either the first half or second half of the experimental session, one of thirty 10-minute television program clips was presented on a television in the corner of the room. The television programs were selected to represent a range of programs that are not produced for an infant audience and that typically air during the day. The programs were grouped into three broad categories: children's educational programming, children's action programming, and soap operas. Infants' behavior and heart-rate were recorded to determine attention to background television and the influence of television on the quantity and quality of attention to toys during play. The results point to a decrease in overall looking at the toys and mean look length to toys in the presence of background television, regardless of program category and age. However, this held for only those infants who had an opportunity to play with the toys prior to the television presentation. -- Background television and infants' attention -- The presence of background television had a detrimental impact on the mean length of focused attention episodes during play with toys for all infants, regardless of order of television presentation. The results suggest that perhaps the greatest harm posed by background television lies in its potential to impact look length to toys. With the preponderance of background television exposure in the typical home, this may have important implications for the cognitive development of infants.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8704
Item ID: 8704
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 99-115).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Attention in infants; Television and children--Longitudinal studies

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