mise à jour du
18 novembre 2002
Developmental And Behavioral Pediatrics
1990; 11; 3
 Very young infants yawn or cry after watching animated programs
Keiko Mizukami, Mami Ishibashi
Developmental Psychology Rescarch Laboratory National Children's Medical Research Center Taishido, Tokyo Japan


Television and videotape-recorded programs may be hazardous stimuli for the behavioral development of young infants.
Though little is known about infant responses to stimulation by these media, a study we performed indicates that animated programs tire young infants.
The subjects in an experiment performed at our research center were 19 infants, ages 11-29 weeks, and their mothers. The infants were placed in the experimenter's lap so that the infant's face was about 50-60 cm from the television screen. The mother sat facing the infant beside the television. The infant was shown "Mr. Duck Steps Out," a Walt Disney, Donald Duck animated program. The mother was asked not to interfere with her infant's viewing for the first 3 minutes, then to attract ils attention during the next 3 minutes. Two videotape recorders were used to record the infant's and the mother's behaviors. A frame count was superimposed at a rate of 30 frames per second.
The frequency, duration, and total duration of periods when the infant was watching the program or watching the mother and the occurrence of yawning and crying as indexes of sensory overload were analyzed by two independent raters from the videotape record.
The infants watched the program more than they did the mother, whether the mother attempted to interfere or not.
Infants younger than 16 weeks were especially attentive to the program: seven of 10 infants, ages 11-16 weeks, watched the prograrn for more than 2.5 minutes of the first 3-minute period, but none of the nine older infants did (kl = 7.19, df= 1 ' P < 0.01). In older infants, viewing patterns were similar whether they watched the program or the mother, but in younger infants, they différed: younger infants watched their mother briefly but watched the program continuously. An especially interesting finding was that six of the seven younger infants who watched the program. for over 2.5 minutes during the first 3 minutes either yawned (five infants) or cried (one infant) during the second 3 rninutes.
The data suggest that stimulation by the program may overload younger infants who are not yet able to regulate sensory intake. Television and videotape-recorded programs, unlike mothers' responses to infants' social and learning abilities, are unregulated and unsynchronized with the infant's needs. They may therefore be hazardous stimuli for the behavioral development of young infants.
  1. Singer DG: Caution: Television may be hazardous Io a child's mental health. J Dev Behav Pediatr 10:259-261, 1989
  2. Hollenbeck A, Slaby R: Infant visual responses to television. Child Dev 50:41-45, 1979