Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Eliana Colunga

Abstract

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 1999) recommends that parents limit their 2- to 5-year-old children to 2 hours of television per day. This recommendation is due in part to research showing that a video deficit effect exists in which children under the age of 2 learn significantly worse from a video than from a live person. Fifty 30- to 36-month olds completed a word-learning task, trained either in person or through a video, while their parent took a survey regarding their screen media viewing habits. There was a significant interaction between condition and screen media hours watched. Children who watched below the AAP’s recommended 2 hours per day retained a video deficit while those who watched 2 or more hours per day learned equally well from both conditions. This suggests that the video deficit is overcome following greater exposure to screen media. Further investigation revealed that regardless of condition, children who watched between 45 and 75 minutes of screen media per day outperformed their peers, suggesting that there may be an optimal amount of screen media exposure necessary for kids to learn from both sources.

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