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Examining the short-term effects of video exposure on children’s attention and other cognitive processes

Kostyrka-Allchorne, Katarzyna (2018) Examining the short-term effects of video exposure on children’s attention and other cognitive processes. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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The literature suggests that fast editing pace (usually operationalised with a number of cuts and scene changes; McCollum & Bryant, 2003), which is typical of much of children’s programming, may have detrimental developmental consequences. Previous studies that examined the effects of fast pace on children’s attention and cognition produced inconclusive findings. The major weakness of this research was using programmes that varied in both pace and content. Thus, this thesis focused on examining the effects of the differential editing (fast vs. slow) using specially produced videos, which allowed manipulating the pace while maintaining strict content control. Experiments 1-4 investigated the short-term effects of differentially paced videos on children’s attention. In these experiments, attention was either measured indirectly, through an observation of play (Experiment 1) or directly with a continuous performance task (Experiments 2-4). To address the recent proposals about the potential detrimental role of pace and content on children’s executive function (Lillard, Drell, Richey, Boguszewski, & Smith, 2015; Lillard & Peterson, 2011), Experiments 3 and 4 included the assessment of the inhibitory control component of executive function. Additionally, Experiments 2 and 5 employed psychophysiological methods (i.e., electroencephalography and cardiovascular measures) to investigate the effects of pace and content on internal attentional and inhibitory processing. Finally, a questionnaire study measured children’s current media preferences and use and investigated parental supervision methods and media beliefs. Results indicated that watching fast-paced videos resulted in more unsettled behaviour during play and less thoughtful responding on the formal laboratory tests of attention. Moreover, the pace of video editing affected neural processes that underpin inhibition. Finally, watching the videos containing elements of fantasy improved children’s inhibitory control. By identifying harmful features, as well as the potential benefits of watching videos, this new evidence contributes to a better understanding of how to optimise children’s media use.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Katarzyna Kostyrka-Allchorne
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2018 13:18
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2019 02:00

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