CHILDREN'S PERCEPTIONS OF TELEVISION CHARACTERS1

Authors


  • 1

    This project was supported in part by Grant 90-C-635, Office ofchild Development, HEW, and by a grant to the first author from the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Abstract

This study explores the cognitive dimensions used by children in differentiating among television characters. By linking content-free judgments of the differences among television characters with content attributes suggested by prior research, a four-dimensional mapping is identified. This cognitive mapping is virtually identical for children at three different ages. Further, dimensions identified are strong predictors of the children's desires to model the social behaviors of the TV characters. The dimensions identified and discussed include those of humor, attractiveness, strength, and activity. The findings also indicate that young boys and girls use the same dimensions in markedly different ways.

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