Television viewing at home: age trends in visual attention and time with TV.

D. R. Anderson, E. P. Lorch, D. E. Field, P. A. Collins, J. G. Nathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The TV-viewing behavior of 99 families with young children was videotaped by automated time-lapse recording equipment placed in homes for 10-day periods. The 99 families comprised 460 individuals from infants to 62 years of age. Time-sample analyses of 4,672 hours of recordings indicated that the TV-viewing room contained no viewers 14.7% of the time that the TV was on. There were no age trends in time spent with television. Percent visual attention to television increased greatly across the preschool years, leveled off at about 70% during the school-age years, and declined in adulthood. Men looked at the TV more than women. There were no significant correlations between time spent with TV and percent of visual attention to TV. The increase in visual attention to television during the preschool years is consistent with the theory that TV program comprehensibility is a major determination of attention in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1033
Number of pages10
JournalChild Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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