Infant and early childhood exposure to adult-directed and child-directed television programming: Relations with cognitive skills at age four

Rachel Barr*, Alexis Lauricella, Elizabeth Zack, Sandra L. Calvert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study described the relations among the amount of child-directed versus adult-directed television exposure at ages 1 and 4 with cognitive outcomes at age 4. Sixty parents completed 24-hour television diaries when their children were 1 and 4 years of age. At age 4, their children also completed a series of cognitive measures and parents completed an assessment of their children's executive functioning skills. High levels of exposure to programs designed for adults during both infancy and at age 4, and high levels of household television use at age 4, were all associated with poorer executive functioning at age 4. High exposure to television programs designed for adults during the preschool years was also associated with poorer cognitive outcomes at age 4. In contrast, exposure to television programs designed for young children at either time point was not associated with any outcome measure at age 4. These results suggest that exposure to child-directed versus adult-directed television content is an important factor in understanding the relation between media exposure and developmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-48
Number of pages28
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly
Volume56
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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