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Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Apr;33(2):176-88. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2009.12.012. Epub 2010 Jan 27.

When the television is on: the impact of infant-directed video on 6- and 18-month-olds' attention during toy play and on parent-infant interaction.

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Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada A1B 3X9.


The pattern of 6- and 18-month-old infants' and their parents' attention to toys, a commercially available infant-directed video, and each other were examined in a 20 min free-play context as a function of whether the television was on or off. The results indicated that infants at both ages directed significantly more of their attention to the toys than the video when the toys were novel. Attention to the parent was low across the session. Parents directed most of their attention to the infants and the toys and relatively little to the video. They also talked to and played with their infants less when the video was on than when it was off. These results are discussed in terms of Cohen's (1972) model of attention-getting and attention-holding and the implications of this for learning and distractibility.

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