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Fantasy–Reality Distinction

Dafna Lemish


The ability of young children to distinguish between fantasy and reality with regard to television, and the changes that occur in those perceptions have significant implications for their preferences in television content, their comprehension of such content, and their emotional responses (e.g., fear reactions; →  Fear Induction through Media Content in Children ). By applying developmental psychology theories, researchers primarily in the field of communication studies have found that developing the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality may influence the tendency to imitate dangerous behaviors, to expect unrealistic solutions to problems, and to hold misconceptions about the nature of social life. It may also have an impact on purchasing decisions. While “television reality” is a complex and multidimensional concept, the literature relates more specifically to the degree of factuality of the mediated reality, for example: (1) the ability to determine when people and events presented on television exist beyond the screen; (2) the understanding that some characters on television are real people representing themselves while others are actors playing a role; (3) the distinction between events depicted on the screen that happen in the outside world and those that are staged and created according to a script. Research studies have sought to determine at what age and through what ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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