Monday, September 12, 2011

Off-topic, but i would like to share this: A new study shows that fast-paced cartoons like Spongebob are detrimental to a child's attention, memory and problem solving ability

The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a study involving cartoons - particularly those that are fast-paced - and how they compromise cognitive ability in very young children. The results were quite fascinating, and a tad alarming. From WebMD:
In Study, Kids Who Viewed a Fast-Paced, High-Action Cartoon Did Worse on Tests Than Kids Who Drew or Viewed an Educational Cartoon

The 4-year-olds who viewed the fast-paced cartoon, then took the tests, ''were handicapped in their readiness for learning," says researcher Angeline Lillard, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

She randomly assigned 60 4-year-old boys and girls to one of three groups:

One group watched a fast-paced cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea

One group watched a slower-paced educational cartoon that shows a typical U.S. preschooler

One group drew with crayons and markers.

Right after the viewing, the children were given a variety of tests to assess their attention, problem-solving ability, and other skills. In one test, the researchers measured their ability to delay gratification by seeing if they could hold off on eating snacks. In another, they measured problem-solving abilities by asking children to move disks from one peg to another.

The kids who viewed the fast-paced cartoon did worse than the other two groups on the tests. For instance, 70% of the kids who drew passed the problem-solving tests with disks and pegs (a good result for the age). Thirty-five percent of the educational TV viewers did, but just 15% of the fast-paced cartoon viewers did.

Those who watched the fast-paced cartoon were also less able than the others to delay gratification and to follow directions.

For four year olds, I would imagine The Fairly Odd Parents being as problematic as Spongebob - in terms of pace and complexity. Read the WebMD article here

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