Psychology Research Examines TV's role in ADD/ADHD
Editor's note: Matt Diggs is a faculty member at Grantham University who teaches the capstone seminar that all multidisciplinary degree students must complete for their degree. He also teaches a variety of social science electives in the College of Arts and Sciences.
New psychology research was recently published that may have an impact on non-traditional students who participate in online degree programs while raising a family.
Controversial research recently published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics focused on the work of Dimitri Christakis, who has been doing research for the last 10 years on the link between Attention-deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and television watching. The idea behind this research has been to try to demonstrate the not-so-good impact that television can have on children.
Good psychology research can change the way we act, the way we parent, the way we administer medication and more. When watching shows, the viewer is bombarded with four- to five-minute segments of information in an attempt to keep his/her attention. This is for kids as well as adults.
Christakis’ latest research delved into the world of fast-paced cartoons on TV. His research consisted of kids watching Spongebob for nine minutes, watching another educational program called "Caillou" for nine minutes and giving children play time for nine minutes.
After the television show, kids were then asked to take tests that focused on attention, working memory and problem solving. The result? Kids who watched the cartoon (Spongebob) did poorly on the tasks, compared to kids who were allowed to play or even the other group that watched a non fast-paced show.
Here’s the research that was published in the Academy of Pediatrics. One thing we try to impress upon our students at Grantham University is the quality of web resources (and preferably using our library for the best and most up-to-date resources!) and finding source data when at all possible. Many articles have been written on this article - and different media outlets have put their own spin on it. If you read the source article, you can read the data without any spin.
So what can non-traditional students take away from this research?
The implications will vary from person to person. Personally, as a new father of twins (16 months old!), I might think even harder about what they will and will not be allowed to watch. Psychology offers so many insights into parenting, social interactions and relationships. We get to cover it all.
Don't tell any of my fellow discipline faculty, but I think we have the most fun coursework here at Grantham. We will be highlighting some of the other fun areas, new research and controversial issues in our blog as warranted.
Sound like a topic you'd like to study? Look into multidisciplinary courses in our College of Arts and Sciences.