The Influence Of Television Pacing On Attention And Executive Functioning
Television shows, especially cartoons, are one of the most common types of media in children’s lives. Although there is a well-established connection between television exposure and difficulties with attention, it is unclear if all types of television are equally impactful. Given the amount of time children are exposed to television, there is a need to better understand which components of shows may or may not impact one’s attentional and executive functioning abilities. One such factor is the pace of the content. The current study expands on this limited area of the literature by utilizing a 9-minute 30-second long cartoon video, which has been edited at both a fast and slow pace, to examine the influence of pace on measures of attention and executive functioning (the Stop Signal Task and the Attentional Network Test) in both Typically Developing children (N = 24) and children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD; N = 17). Two (group; children with ADHD vs. Typically Developing children) x two (pace; fast vs. slow) ANCOVAs were conducted separately with each outcome measure as the dependent variable, group (ADHD and Typically Developing) and pace (fast and slow) as the independent variables, and IQ and Internalizing Problems as covariates. Findings suggested that although the majority of results were non-significant, effect sizes for group and pace (and associated covariates) varied across outcome measures. The Alerting and Executive Control ANT Networks also had non-significant but small effect sizes for the group by pace interactions. Planned comparisons of estimated marginal means revealed a non-significant and small effect of pace for children with ADHD, but no effect for Typically Developing children, for both interactions. Implications for those who work with and care for children are reviewed, and study limitations and future research directions are discussed.