Spongebob Squarepants vs Caillou 2011

Lillard, A. S., & Peterson, J. (2011). The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function. Pediatrics, 128(4), 644-649. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1919
PDF from here

My quick thoughts:

– Spongebob and Phineas and Ferb and such TV cartoon shows are fast with lots of clever language and references, etc. It is probably hard for little kids to follow it all. Even for me! Maybe it would be different (even for me!) if I had a pause between scenes. Isn’t the study just showing that their brains are tired after 9 minutes? There isn’t time to even pause and explain things. You could if you were watching it on streamed/DVD/DVR vs “live” TV but I don’t think anyone actually wants that. I imagine pauses would be needed for ANYONE to get info from short-term into working memory.

– I like Caillou, Kipper, Curious George, etc. Kipper especially is so nice and relaxed!

– As I was reading ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH by Dr Suess at tonight bedtime, it struck me that if I read that book very fast, it might very well be no different to a 4 or 5 year old than watching a fast paced cartoon. You want fast and fantastical? Oh yes! In book format! Someone study that! I can easily read that book 4-5 times faster (yet still intelligibly) if I wanted to vs a reasonable pace.

– “EF was assessed here by using 4 well-known tasks: Tower of Hanoi, backward digit span, delay of gratification, and head toes knees shoulders(HTKS).” Isn’t that *boring* compared to the show they were just watching?

– I don’t see any followup studies/papers on the publications page, which is a shame because I am sure there is plenty of unexplored ground here. The problem being able to show long-term effects.


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