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Attention to Media Content across the Life-Span

Elizabeth Lorch


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Children, adolescents, and adults use many types of media. These include varieties that do not require input from the user, such as print media, movies, →  Video tapes, DVDs, music, and television, as well as those with more extensive interactive possibilities (→  Interactivity, Concept of ), such as →  video games , computer applications, and →  Internet resources. As the media landscape has become more varied and extensive, children and adolescents in particular have increased use of these newer media ( Rideout et al. 2005 ). However, at all ages studied, →  Television has maintained its place as the most commonly used medium (→  Media Use across the Life-Span ). Further, characteristics of television enable a variety of measures of →  attention (e.g., eye movements, visual orientation to the screen, probe responses to events). Perhaps for these reasons, television is the focus of most studies of attention to media. Developmental differences in attention have been studied most systematically across childhood and adolescence, with far fewer studies examining attention to media in adults, especially in older adults (→  Attending to the Mass Media ; Developmental Communication ). Since the introduction of television, popular conceptions of television viewing often have characterized children as “zombies” who are captured by television and stare fixedly at the screen. Naturalistic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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