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By Jorge Reina Schement
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Extra info for Encyclopedia of Communication and Information, Volume I-III
The researchers next addressed whether television viewing should be considered a cause of the lower scores. They turned to the relationships between test scores at the time of the second measurement and the amount of television viewed at the time of the first measurement. This would establish whether the necessary condition was met for an inference that television had a causal role—a time order in which viewing preceded the outcome. Indeed, television viewing stoutly remained inversely associated with the three test scores.
The basis of social norms theory is the assertion that students measure themselves against 18 • A L C O H O L I N T H E M E D I A others in assessing the appropriateness or acceptability of their own behaviors. Often, these measures are based on false understandings of what is normative or misperceptions of the behavior of others. The notion that everyone drinks excessively in college, for example, is a misperception.
The explanation suggested by these patterns is that greater television viewing is the outcome of influences that themselves contribute to or are associated with lower achievement, and greater viewing is not a cause of that lower achievement. However, additional evidence indicates that this explanation is too simplistic. There are many documented ways in which television use may interfere with success at school. First, academic tasks, such as reading and problem solving, have ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND CHILDREN’S TELEVISION USE • 7 been shown to be less effectively done in the company of television—reading comprehension is lower and right answers are fewer.