Understanding the differential impact of children’s TV on executive functions: a narrative-processing analysis

Essex, Claire, Gliga, Teodora, Singh, Maninda and Smith, Tim J. (2022) Understanding the differential impact of children’s TV on executive functions: a narrative-processing analysis. Infant Behavior and Development, 66. ISSN 0163-6383

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Abstract

Evidence from multiple empirical studies suggests children’s Executive Functions are depleted immediately after viewing some types of TV content but not others. Correlational evidence suggests any such effects may be most problematic during the pre-school years. To establish whether “screen-time” is developmentally appropriate at this age we believe a nuanced approach must be taken to the analysis of individual pieces of media and their potential demands on viewer cognition. To this end we apply a cognitive theory of visual narrative processing, the Scene Perception and Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT; Loschky, Larson, Smith, & Magliano, 2020) to the analysis of TV shows previously used to investigate short-term effects of TV viewing. A theoretical formalisation of individual content properties, together with a quantitative content-based analysis of previously used children’s content (Lillard & Peterson, 2011; Lillard et al., 2015b) is presented. This analysis found a pattern of greater stimulus saliency, increased situational change and a greater combined presence of cognitively demanding features for videos previously shown to reduce children’s EF after viewing. Limitations of this pilot application of SPECT are presented and proposals for future empirical investigations of the psychological mechanisms activated by specific TV viewing content are considered.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was made possible by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Industrial Challenges Studentship to Claire Essex (Grant Number: ES/P000592/1 ). The authors would like to thank Ben Ewing for his help with data coding. The authors would also like to thank the reviewers involved in the peer-review of this paper for their support in preparing this manuscript for publication. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors
Uncontrolled Keywords: children's tv viewing,cognitive development,content properties,executive function,narrative-processing analysis,developmental and educational psychology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3204
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2021 08:27
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 03:12
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81960
DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101661

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