Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Media Resources and Communication Sciences, Journalism
Preschool children's visual attention to nearly three hours of a heterogeneous sample of children's programing was examined in relationship to the presence of 37 simple visual and auditory attributes of television programs. A factor analysis of the attributes indicated that they were largely independent, with the exception of two factors, which were labeled “women and children” and “puppets.” Attributes and factors that were positively related to attention were the puppet factor, women and children factor, auditory changes, peculiar voices, movement, cuts, sound effects, laughter, and applause. Attributes that were negatively related to attention were adult male voices, extended zooms and pans, eye contact, and still shots. Other attributes had both positive and negative effects on attention depending on whether the child was looking at the TV at the time the attribute occurred. It is suggested that attributes are positive or negative to the degree to which they signal informative comprehensible content.
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