The effects of television on people of all ages is a topic of great study in the field of psychology. The experiments that have been done in the last 30-40 years focus on various aspects of the impact of television, from eating behavior, to cognitive effects. They also study various types of television, from the impacts of violent TV to the impacts of television advertising.
In the 6 articles that I examined, the experiments were conducted in a very similar way, using various sample populations. One study focused on preschool age children. These children are taking their first independent steps in life and just beginning to make their own real-world decision. In this study, they took a randomized sample of forty-six 2 to 6 year old children and exposed them to 30-minutes of cartoons, either with or without embedded food commercials. They were then given a choice of snack after viewing, either the food advertised or something else. Results showed that children were significantly more likely to chose the food that had been advertised (Borsekowski, pg. 44). Another study that was conducted nearly 20 years earlier also studied the effects of food advertising on children. This study was conducted at a summer camp in Quebec, and the results proved to be very similar. The experiment conducted was also very similar to the above study. Directly proceeding the children’s snack period, they were shown a 30-minute cartoon with either commercials for healthy or unhealthy food. Then, during their snack period, they were given a choice of either a healthy snack or an unhealthy snack. Although this experiment studied a slighty different aspect of food advertising, the results were once again very similar. Results showed that the children were much more likely to chose the unhealthy snack over the healthy snack after being shown the commercials (Gorn et al., 203).
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Numerous other studies have focused on other aspects of food advertising, such as its possible link to the obesity epidemic in the United States. “According to the U.S. Surgeon General, ‘Obesity is the fastest growing cause of disease and death in America.’’ (Harris et al., 404). Unlike the other studies mentioned, this study was done on a very specific group of people; volunteers for a study examining behavioral strategies for weight control, all of which were overweight and had type II diabetes. The goal of the research was to see whether or not television viewing by these subjects was correlated with the amount of food they consumed daily. The research for this study was conducted in a different fashion then the research for most of the other...