Developmental Science

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Developmental Science - Early View Articles, Pages ${blockparams.parentJournalIssue.pageRange}

Screen‐time influences children's mental imagery performance

Abstract Mental imagery is a foundational human faculty that depends on active image construction and sensorimotor experiences. However, children now spend a significant proportion of their day engaged with screen‐media, which (a) provide them with ready‐made mental images, and (b) constitute a sensory narrowing whereby input is typically focused on the visual and auditory modalities. Accordingly, we test the idea that screen‐time influences the development of children's mental imagery with a focus on mental image generation and inspection from the visual and haptic domains. In a longitudinal cross‐lagged panel design, children (n = 266) aged between 3 and 9 years were tested at two points in time, 10 months apart. Measures of screen‐time and mental imagery were employed, alongside a host of control variables including working memory, vocabulary, demographics, device ownership, and age of exposure to screen‐media. Findings indicate a statistically significant path from screen‐time at time 1 to mental imagery at time 2, above and beyond the influence of the control variables. These unique findings are discussed in terms of the influence of screen‐time on mental imagery.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>