You probably think that when your parents told you that too much TV will harm your brain they were just trying to make you do your homework. However, according to a recent study, watching TV is not bad only for children but especially for young adults.
The study was a long-term one, tracking a number of 3,247 adults who reported watching television for over 3 hours a day. The adults were aged 18 to 30 when they enrolled in the study. The participants were tracked over a period of 25 years.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Tina Hoang and Kristine Yaffe in California and its findings were recently published in the American Medical Association’s journal.
The purpose of the study was to see whether watching too much television could affect a person’s cognitive functions. During the 25 years, psychologists tested the participants’ verbal memory, executive function and mental processing speed.
The findings showed that the processing speed and executive function were negatively affected by television-watching which was naturally linked to less physical activity. The process that didn’t appear to be affected by watching TV was verbal memory. Therefore, it looks like watching too much television as a young adult, meaning in your twenties, could affect some of your cognitive functions in midlife.
What do critics say
On the other hand, the study might not be so precise. A psychologist at Oxford University, Andrew Przybylski, believes that the findings of the study are not completely accurate as they are based on the participants’ reports which could have been subjective. This means they could have reported watching more or less hours of TV than they were actually watching.
Moreover, there appears to be another shortcoming to the study. The researchers didn’t have a baseline for comparison. They should have also studied the subjects’ cognitive functions at the beginning. In this way, they could have been surer whether TV watching actually affected participants’ brains or not. Another fact pointed out by the psychologist at Oxford is that the study was not completed by all participants, which again, makes the findings less relevant.
However, this could be the start of a longer debate and hopefully will encourage scientists to further research the matter as it is important to find out if and how much does TV affect our brains.
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