Friday, August 10, 2007

But what do they think of TtfTE?

by Ken Houghton

Via Reuters, (h/t Marc Andreessen):
For every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants aged 8 to 16 months understood an average of six to eight fewer words than babies who did not watch them, Frederick Zimmerman of the University of Washington and colleagues found.

The lump of labour specificity raises its head in a second post today:
"The results surprised us, but they make sense. There are only a fixed number of hours that young babies are awake and alert," said Andrew Meltzoff, a psychologist who worked on the study.

"If the 'alert time' is spent in front of DVDs and TV, instead of with people speaking in 'parentese'-- that melodic speech we use with little ones -- the babies are not getting the same linguistic experience," Meltzoff added....

"Old kids may be different, but the youngest babies seem to learn language best from people."

This implies:
Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute who worked on the study, said parents frequently asked him about the value of such videos.

"The evidence is mounting that they are of no value and may in fact be harmful," Christakis said.

And just this year, the State of the Union cited Baby Einstein founder Julie Aigner-Clark as "represent[ing] the great enterprising spirit of America."

Damn the consequences, full steam ahead!

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