Active Theory Anna Kuiper

Definition of Active Theory: view of television consumption that assumes viewer comprehension causes attention and, therefore effects (or no effects)
Overview of the theory: "the proposition that the child is an active, cognitive, and social being [but] television is seen as providing such an exceptionally powerful influence and that the child becomes reactive in its presence" (Anderson and Lorch, 1983, p. 5)
Researchers argue that by the age of two and a half, children have sufficiently developed viewing schema (interpretational skills that aid people in understanding media content conventions) that allow them to comprehend specific television content conventions

Assumptions: Children are affected (or not affected) by the television they watch

Research Findings

The Relation between Selective Attention to Television Forms and Children's Comprehension of Content.

Author(s): Sandra L. Calvert, Aletha C. Huston, Bruce A. Watkins and John C. Wright

Source: Child Development, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jun., 1982), pp. 601-610

Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development

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Purpose:The purpose of this is to describe the features in a television production that guide children’s visual attention and to assess the ways in which children’s selective attention to features is related to their subsequent comprehension and recall of story content.

Hypothesis: that children will learn from whatever content co-occurs with those features that attract and maintain attention

Methodology: 128 subjects- Same-sex pairs of children were taken from their classrooms to a laboratory and seated opposite from one another at a table. Across the room was a television monitor as well as activities such as paper and crayons, comic books and toys.

Pauses in the television- this is how they saw the affect

Results: Supports the theory--selective use of formal features within education and pro social children’s programs could help facilitate children’s information extraction, leading to widening their learning of constructive messages from the medium that pervades their daily lives.

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