Sunday, July 27, 2008

can television make kids smarter?

In the previous post, we learned that television might cause autism. Before banning television from your house, you should also consider the following article by Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro, both at the University of Chicago. It appeared in a recent issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores

They find evidence that exposure to television when in preschool may increase average adolescent test scores. Admittedly, the overall the effects are small. However, "the effects are largest for children from households where English is not the primary language, for children whose mothers have less than a high school education, and for nonwhite children."

So, this suggests that tv might not be completely bad. It may provide exposure to knowledge or experiences that are otherwise unavailable. Taken together what do the two television studies imply?

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