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Games Health J. 2016 Apr;5(2):114-9. doi: 10.1089/g4h.2015.0019. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

Children's Cognitive and Affective Responses About a Narrative Versus a Non-Narrative Cartoon Designed for an Active Videogame.

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1 Faculty of Public Health, University of the State of Sao Paulo , Sao Paulo, Brazil .
2 Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Santa Catarina , Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil .
3 USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine , Houston, Texas.
4 Department of Communication Studies, College of Arts, Media and Design; Department of Health Sciences, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University , Boston, Massachusetts.



This article presents the results of interviews conducted with children regarding their cognitive and affective responses toward a narrative and a non-narrative cartoon. The findings will be used to further explore the role of a narrative in motivating continued active videogame play.


Twenty children (8-11 years old of mixed gender) watched two cartoons (narrative and non-narrative) and were subsequently interviewed. A thematic matrix was used to analyze the interviews.


The narrative cartoon (n = 11) was only slightly preferred compared with the non-narrative one (n = 9), with little difference among the participants. The theme categories identified during the analyses were plot, characters, and suggestions. The fight scenes were mentioned by the children as a likeable aspect of the narrative cartoon. In the non-narrative cartoon, the vast majority (n = 17) liked the information about physical activity that was provided. The children enjoyed the appearance and personalities of the characters in both cartoons. A discrepancy in the data about the fight scenes (narrative cartoon) and characters (both cartoons) was found among the female participants (i.e., some girls did not like the fight and thought the characters were too aggressive). However, most of the children wanted to see more action in the story, an increase in the number of fight scenes (narrative cartoon), or more information about exercise and examples of exercises they could do (non-narrative cartoon). They also suggested adding a game to the non-narrative cartoon, including more characters, and improving the animation in both cartoons.


The children preferred the narrative cartoon because of the story and the fight. Some gender differences were found, which further studies should investigate.

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