top of page

Research - Children & Media

Educational TV      Interactive Media    Fitness Gaming


Learning Scientific Concepts from Educational Television 


Building on previous research into children’s understanding of pretend intentions and actions, we have been examining the factors that influence whether preschool children will transfer information learned in fantasy stories to real-world situation. In a newer line of research, we have begun studying the influence of media exposure on cognitive development by focusing on how children view information learned in media contexts and the effectiveness of using different forms of media as educational tools.

Despite the popularity of children’s television we still know little about how children are learning scientific concepts from educational television. The purpose of this research is to examine 1) how children’s relationships with television characters and 2) stereotypes about science influence how children learn and enjoy science.

To be eligible for the study, your child must be between 3y 11m to 5y 11m of age of all races & ethnicities are eligible; Hispanic/Latino families are especially encouraged to participate. English must be the primary language spoken in the home, bilingual families are welcomed.


Research Collaborators


The Childhood Cognition Lab is currently collaborating with the Children’s Digital Media Center and the Center on Media and Human Development on a large NSF-sponsored project researching how children are learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts from educational media.


Impacts of Interactive Media and Tablet Usage

on Children’s Memory and Learning


Our lab is also interested in understanding the ways in which exposure to interactive media (such as tablet and phone games) can influence children’s cognitive development. This work builds on previous research which suggesting that interactive media can influence multiple areas of children’s cognitive functioning, including selective attention, problem solving, and story memory. We aim to investigate children’s learning and memory in particular.

Participation in this project involves up to 3 visits to the Childhood Cognition Lab over the course of 2 weeks. Visits are up to 1 hour, during which time your child will be invited to play with developmentally appropriate interactive media and will be given some simple memory tests.

To be eligible for the study, your child must be between 6 and 10 years of age.


Interactive Media Project


This research explored the ways that parents and children engage together during an interactive media task in order to examine how preschool children use computers and how parents support learning in this context. Three to 4.5-year olds and their parents played two target games on a novel interactive device, LeapFrog’s My First Computer. The games involved content knowledge, letter and number recognition, and computer operational skills, keyboard recognition, and mouse manipulation.


We are examining how the interaction effected children’s computer operational skills and content knowledge. In addition we are looking at how parents support their children during the task. For example, if parent’s helped more on games that involve the mouse or the keyboard.


Exertainment: The Contribution of Fitness Gaming to Youth Health


The purpose of this research is to investigate the ways Nintendo’s Wii Fit can be used to increase physical fitness for children. Some recent studies have found that children exert the same amount of energy while playing physically active video games as moderate fitness activities like walking on a treadmill. In this study children attending a summer day camp in New York City participated in weekly fitness sessions using Wii Fit or Wii Active technology.


The research evaluates the feasibility of fitness based video games as a form of physical activity that improves health and well-being from middle childhood through adolescence. This study was conducted in collaboration with Georgetown University and Oasis Children’s Services summer day camp.


Physically Active Versus Inactive Video Game Play


This research study is a follow-up to evaluating fitness-based video games as a form of physical activity. The study examines the short-term impacts of video game play on cognition for children ages 7 to 12. Children participate in one of four conditions: a non-playing control, an exercise condition, an exergame condition, and a sedentary video game condition.


Participants in both the sedentary video game and exergame conditions play Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) for 20 minutes. The sedentary condition played the game sitting down while the exergame played on a motion-sensored mat. Participants in the exercise condition do a series of aerobic exercises for 20 minutes. All participants wear a heart-rate monitor and an accelerometer during the activity.


Children also play several computer-based games that measure cognitive skills, such as attention.

Educational TV
Interactive Media
Fitness Gaming
bottom of page