An Investigation of the Link between Film Pacing and Attention in Children

Nicholas Cooper, Claudia Uller, Steffen Nestler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPoster abstractpeer-review


Background. Television sets are omnipresent in UK households (Livingston, 2007) and programmes have begun to focus on infants below two years of age as their target audience, promising educational effects (Christakis, 2009). However, previous research into programme content (for instance, Landhuis et al., 2007) revealed negative attentional outcomes as a result of early television exposure. The current empirical investigation, with a focus on programme format, extends this previous research by substantiating it with the measurement of children’s electroencephalogram (EEG) and galvanic skin response (GSR) in order to disentangle arousal from attentional influences. Methods. Twenty primary school children watched one of two five-minute video presentations of a story of which one version had more cuts (“fast video” group) between camera angles than the other (“slow video” group). Hence, the former version had more scene changes and appeared to be progressing more quickly. Subsequently, the children performed an eight-minute sustained attention and response task (SART) in which a button was to be pressed for every number between one and nine that appeared on a computer screen, except for the figure three. Throughout the experiment, GSR and EEG data were acquired. Results and Conclusions. Preliminary analyses of behavioural, EEG and GSR results suggest greater attention to the task after exposure to the video in the “fast” group. These results are discussed in light of a possible link to the development of ADHD (cf. Hobbs et al., 2007). Suggestions for caregivers and doctors will also be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Scientific Meeting of the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of Child Health, London
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2009


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