Visual motherese? Signal-to-noise ratios in toddler-directed television.
Bottom Line: We compared toddler-directed and adult-directed TV programmes (TotTV/ATV).Our results suggest that TotTV designers have intuited techniques for controlling toddler attention using low-level visual cues.The implications of these findings for structuring childhood learning experiences away from a screen are discussed.
Affiliation: Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: Figure 7 shows a sample of character faces analysed for feature congestion. Total feature congestion across the whole face is higher in the TotTV than the ATV samples; also interesting, however, is that in the TotTV samples the areas of highest feature congestion are located around the eyes, which are semantically the most informative areas within the face (Grossman & Johnson, 2007). This was true both for all animated characters (including ATV-Anim as well as TotTV) and for costumed live action TotTV characters. In the ATV-Live samples, in contrast, feature congestion around the eyes does not appear to be higher than it is in the rest of the face (Figure 7) and feature congestion in the face is not higher than in the rest of the frame (Figure 5f). Our findings suggest that feature congestion, which is a low-level exogenous influence on gaze location (Rosenholtz et al., 2007), may be used in TotTV to guide attention both to the semantically most important part of the frame (the face) and to the semantically most important part of the face (the eyes). One irony is that their simplified design and limited range of movement means that the eyes of cartoon/puppet characters may not have the full range of nuance and expression that real eyes do. However, for younger viewers this reduced complexity may accentuate critical expressive features and increase comprehensibility, which in turn leads to increased attention (Pempek, Kirkorian, Richards, Anderson, Lund & Stevens, 2010, Kidd, Piantadosi & Aslin, 2012).
Affiliation: Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.