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Dev Psychol. 2014 Jan;50(1):129-37. doi: 10.1037/a0033628. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Is the association between children's baby video viewing and poor language development robust? A reanalysis of Zimmerman, Christakis, and Meltzoff (2007).

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Department of Psychology.
Department of Psychology, Michigan State University.


Zimmerman, Christakis, and Meltzoff (see record 2007-18340-001) reported that exposure to Baby Einstein videos was negatively associated with language development. The current study uses the Zimmerman et al. (2007) data set to replicate and extend the original analyses. Caregivers of 392 children aged 6 to 16 months and 358 children aged 17 to 27 months reported on media exposure, language development, and control variables related to child/parent interaction and demographic characteristics. Results indicated that exposure to baby videos could be construed as positive, neutral, or negative depending upon the statistical analysis. The effect size estimates were generally negligible across analyses. Exposure to educational programming tended to be positively related to language development. Infants exposed to no media actually had lower levels of language development compared to infants with some exposure. Given these results, the Zimmerman et al. (2007) data set does not permit strong inferences about a connection between exposure to media and language development in young children. These results also highlight recent concerns over methodological flexibility and the possibility of increased Type I errors (false positives) in the psychological literature.

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