Television and Executive Functioning in Children

Three studies in the journal Developmental Psychology examined the short-term impact of television (TV) on children’s executive function (EF). Study 1 (N = 160) showed that 4- and 6-year-olds’ EF is impaired after watching 2 different fast and fantastical shows, relative to that of children who watched a slow, realistic show or played. In Study 2 (N = 60), 4-year-olds’ EF was as depleted after watching a fast and fantastical educational show as it was after a fast and fantastical entertainment 1, relative to that of children who read a book based on the educational show. Study 3 (N = 80) examined whether show pacing or fantasy was more influential, and found that only fantastical shows, regardless of their pacing, disrupted 4-year-olds’ EF. Taken together, these studies show that 10–20 min watching televised fantastical events, relative to other experiences, results in lower EF in young children.

For the abstract.


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