Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood (Psychology Revivals): Volume 6

Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood (Psychology Revivals)
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get link Prepuberty is the last phase of the childhood stage. Just prior to puberty the formerly active, aggressive, capable, reality-oriented child becomes introverted. In the first phase of adolescence the second negativistic phase , aggressiveness and activity are augmented, and desires for adventure and groups of companions appear.

A cycloid personality, on the other hand, will balance the developmentally determined schizoid characteristics, and adolescent turmoil will be minimal. As the new and increased needs penetrate the personal stratum, where capacities for abstraction and logical thinking are continuing to develop, the adolescent becomes reflective and seeks autonomy and greater knowledge. The need for independence increases further during the second phase, fusing with more thoughtful planning, identity experimentation, and desire for self-improvement.

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This combination produces a re-evaluation, and perhaps rejection, of previously acquired attitudes and values. During the last phase the self-concept and value system are harmonized; heterosexual adjustments and relationships to persons and to society are established; goal-directed activity increases; and a philosophy of life is sought. Having traced European psychological concepts of adolescence, we return to an advance in cultural anthropology that had a major impact on developmental theory.

Both Hall and Freud were familiar with the anthropological data of their time. Hall, for example, devoted three chapters of his Adolescence to early cultures and to contemporary primitive cultures. But these data had not been collected with a view to relating culture and personality development.

Late in the s, Malinowski, Benedict, Margaret Mead and others set out in a more systematic fashion to bring anthropological methods to bear on this question.

Their data forcefully challenged the assumptions of universality explicit or implicit in recapitulation and Freudian theory. A great range of practices in dealing with puberty were reported—prolonged, complicated puberal rites; brief, simple ceremonies; no recognition. In some groups, the ceremonies entirely missed the period for many initiates, because they were held only every four years. Adolescent rebellion, behavioral contradictions, and patterns of peer-group affiliations were not invariant. Adults had different expectations of the adolescent. In Samoa adolescents were expected to work well, be loyal to the family, and not to be presumptuous or troublesome; Hawaiian Chinese parents assume children will present fewer problems as they get older.

Benedict has provided the only attempt to formalize the implications of these observations. She proposed that the apparent discontinuities in behavioral development arise from discontinuities in social conditions and expectancies and pointed to three particular dimensions in social roles and interpersonal relationships that produce behavioral disruptions—responsible versus nonresponsible status, dominance versus submission, and contrasted sex role Benedict , p. Gradual induction into adult patterns is postulated to prevent psychological distress and behavioral disturbance.

More recently the cultural anthropologists have moved away from their early position of extreme cultural relativism. Indeed, at times there seems to be an embarrassing eclecticism. However, a healthy antidote had been introduced that is reflected in empirical research and almost all textbooks and contemporary theory in developmental psychology. In combination with a growing interest among sociologists in the effect of intracultural institutions on development, the anthropological data drew greater attention to subgroup differences within societies as well [ see Anthropology , especially the article on cultural anthropology ; Culture ].

At about the same time that the anthropologists were producing their first data, learning theorists began to resist biological theories, largely on conjectural, theoretical grounds Hollingworth Data have substantiated the validity of their resistance. Social learning theory actually combines reinforcement learning theory with psychoanalytic concepts and some of the insights of cultural anthropology and sociology. No one person can be taken as representative of this position, particularly in all its aspects.

In general, social learning theorists have not been concerned with distinguishing stages. When they use labels for a group under study they tend to assume some biological definition of adolescence or else they simply use age or school-grade groups. Because learning is a continuous process, development is expected to be continuous unless societal expectations change.

Those who concentrate on the reinforcement aspects of social learning observe how far the child or adolescent has progressed in learning a particular task in relation to the system of rewards and punishments that have been used, for instance, the parental childrearing practices.

Most of the research has centered on five areas of socialization—feeding, elimination, sex, aggression, and dependency—and the development of identification and self-concepts, particularly sexual identity. Three conceptualizations of the way in which identification develops are currently under study—the Freudian model of identification with a feared and powerful father, a learning theory model of imitation of a nurturant parent, and a sociological combination of these two, i.

Learning theorists, as do the Freudians, emphasize early learning, so the major proportion of research has been conducted with infants and young children. Other research within social learning theory has focused on analyzing what persons at various points in the developmental continuum are expected to learn. His list is based on Western, complex cultures, but it is assumed that lists could be made for any culture or subgroup and that certain tasks, e.

The life space is described by dimensions of reality and time perspective and the number, kind, and organization of its regions. There are individual, developmental, and cultural differences in these parameters. In general, the scope, differentiation, and hierarchical organization of the life space increase during development. When changes in the life space are rapid and thoroughgoing, the period is said to be one of transition. At least in Western societies, adolescence is such a period.

The source of difficulties in the first condition is not the abruptness of the shift as in puberal rites , but the clear separation between child and adult groups. The second characteristic makes it difficult to formulate life plans and leads to a tendency to follow persons or groups that offer a structured value system. Conditions 1 and 3 intensify these factors, and in conjunction with the greater impact of new regions during rapid changes, produce tension, instability, and uncertain behavior.

Increased plasticity also accompanies transitions because the individual has no anchor in either old or new regions. Together with the lack of differentiation this characteristic facilitates the emergence of radicalism [ see Field theory ; Lewin ]. How do the data of adolescence compare with these theories? How do those who are not committed to a particular theoretical viewpoint interpret the data? Limitations on references make it impossible to cite the original sources contributing to the composite empirical adolescent, but a broad and balanced sampling of the documentation can be found in Kuhlen and in Zubek and Solberg These texts present data and conclusions that have not been controverted by later evidence and provide the advantage of a developmental orientation.

The developmental approach is essential, for aside from cultural bias, the major source of misconceptions about adolescence is failure to consider trends over the total developmental span. Attributes assigned to adolescence when only that group is assessed are often, in fact, more characteristic of children or adults or equally applicable to all ages. Relevant data cannot be obtained directly from performance curves, because standardized intelligence tests are constructed to yield a regular increase in mental age over a considerable chronological age span, and cognitive tasks of the type used by Piaget are not scored quantitatively.

However, when absolute scaling techniques are applied to standardized tests, the resulting growth curve is steady and continuous, gradually decelerating during adolescence. Factor analyses do suggest greater differentiation of abilities among adolescents than among children, but, again, there is no indication of sudden changes. Examination of individual mental test curves and comparison of mean curves for the sexes and for groups of either sex maturing physically at different rates show no consistent inflections or relationship to puberty.

Another sort of influence of rate of physical maturation is, however, suggested by research on the mode of expression of intellectual competency. Among early and late maturing boys of equal IQ, the former tend to achieve through conformity, the latter through independence Jones Piaget asserts that certain experiences affect the level or timing of acquisition of cognitive structures, e. The effects of biological adolescence are seen most clearly in physical development—strength as well as size and shape— and in sexual behaviors, broadly defined.

Acceleration of growth begins later for strength than for height and other physical dimensions, and in males marked increments continue longer, but the timing of muscular development is highly correlated with rate of physiological maturing. A considerable body of data on the psychological and social correlates of maturation rate has accumulated. Adults see the physiologically advanced as socially more mature than their slower maturing chronological age-mates and are willing to grant them greater autonomy and responsibility Barker et al.

Physiological maturity is positively related to status within the peer group, to self-concepts, and to affectionate feelings and lack of rebelliousness toward parents Eichorn ; Jones Recent analyses point to strength and general physiological maturity as more important than sheer size Jones Motor skills in general improve with age, but their relationship to physical maturity is less definitive.

Moreover, adolescent awkwardness, a characteristic mentioned by many writers, is not supported by objective measurement. The most plausible explanation for instances of assumed lack of coordination—and other than anecdotal evidence on this point is lacking—is social discomfort and inexperience. Cross-culturally, increasing heterosexual interest—expressed directly or indirectly—is the most distinctive characteristic of adolescence.

In the United States the trend, as represented, for example, by concern for personal appearance, ability to make a good impression, sexual morality, continues through the twenties. Even in those cultures that allow sex play and copulation among the young, pubescence brings a more directed, intense quality to the behavior and is accompanied by interest in adornment, acquisition of skills valued in marriage, and whatever behaviors the society links with mature sexuality. One of the earliest relationships to be documented in the United States was that between physical maturation and maturity of interests, particularly those involving culturally patterned heterosexuality.

The shifts are not abrupt, nor would they be predicted to be. The hormonal and physical changes are not abrupt; some of the interests and activities included in scales of maturity of interests are culturally appropriate over a wide age range, e. Nevertheless, the curves for interests and behaviors tied to heterosexuality, such as dancing and dress, rise more steeply during adolescence than those for many other attitudes and performances. Some observers have speculated that youngsters might take up these behaviors under social pressure, without concomitant physical maturation or real involvement.

The few studies that speak to this question e. Some less markedly slow in physical development do go through the motions, but psychological assessment shows that emotional investment is absent, and often the social overtures are not treated as meaningful by peers. Among industrialized societies, increasing preoccupation with economic or vocational concerns, particularly in males, looms next in prominence in the data on adolescence.

Again, the pattern persists well into adulthood. Reports from less complex cultures are not sufficiently detailed to permit comparative statements. Graded contributions to the economy according to age or size are more common, but in many groups, puberal ceremonies signal not complete adult status, but the initiation of a more systematic training in adult economic and civic roles.

Put very baldly, without qualifications for sex, class, or caste, the average American adolescent is not anxious, emotionally unstable, unhappy, aggressive, or rebellious. Fears and worries decrease with age and become less concrete and more socially oriented. In this process, the adolescent is intermediate between the child and the adult. Only a small proportion of adolescents report symptoms of anxiety and emotionality, and across the span from 15 years to old age, adolescents have the lowest index of emotionality.

By teacher and parent report and observations in school, adolescents show fewer behavior problems than younger children. Late childhood or prepubescence, rather than adolescence, are reported asperiods of increase in behavioral problems. Incidence of crime and mental illness rises gradually from early childhood through young adulthood; delinquency rates then drop, while mental illness rates continue to increase.

Furthermore, a large proportion of those who become delinquent or disturbed during adolescence began showing symptoms much earlier. Elderly adults rate adolescence second only to young adulthood as the period of greatest happiness, and the majority of adolescents state they are happy most of the time. Both overt and fantasy aggression decrease with age. Socially directed aggression and internalized aggression depression increase.

The latter appears particularly during early adulthood. Attachments to peers appear early in the United States, but relations with parents improve with age, and the peer group never outweighs the parents for the majority of adolescents. Parental values are more often chosen over those peers if the two are opposed. Between infancy and adolescence the sources of parent-child conflict do, however, change [ see Personality ]. Data on a few specific behaviors frequently mentioned in theories are also available. Crushes occur with high frequency among girls.

Diary-keeping frequently mentioned in psychoanalytic discussions is also a female activity, but at peak incidence only about one-third of samples of girls are so engaged. Daydreaming becomes common during adolescence and is another behavior for which the frequency continues to increase into young adulthood, staying high until about age thirty. True hero-worship may be more common in other Western nations, for instance, Germany. With certain exceptions, theorists have not been active in producing evidence for their hypotheses, particularly with respect to adolescence.

The reasons are several. Many of the formulations are essentially unverifiable. The proponents of theories have not, in the main, been interested in development or adolescence per se, but rather in personality, therapy, cognition, or the like. Finally, the observations that many seek to account for are drawn from small, atypical samples. On the other hand, the developmentalists, who have collected most of the data, have tended to be atheoretical. Textbooks on adolescence, which reflect this orientation almost entirely, typically contain summaries of large numbers of empirical studies and only cursory references to theory.

The greatest deficiency in the body of empirical data is information needed to link theory to data—definitive studies of the variables influencing the emergence or extinction of interests, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. Certain relationships to biological maturation are reasonably well-documented, but comparable and qualifying evidence for other parameters is markedly lacking. Those interested in interpersonal and societal variables have not capitalized on methods used in the longer established biological tradition.

For example, feelings of independence, extent of rebellion, or self-concepts have not been compared among adolescents completely dependent on parents, partially employed, and fully employed. Multiple-factor designs, permitting assessment of the interaction between physiological, intellectual, emotional, and social variables, are extremely rare. Anthropological data now available do not permit separation of variables such as responsibility and dominance, nor the extraction of their influence from the total cultural context. Harbingers of rapprochement are appearing from both sides.

If one looks beyond the particular terminologies and disciplinary frames of reference, represented in the numerous conceptual views of the developmental continuum and of adolescence in particular, communalities and lines of cleavage emerge that narrow the task of verification. Current textbooks and review volumes are beginning to reflect some integration of data collection and theory and greater ingenuity in the use of both experimental and correlational designs.

Other relevant material may be found in Aging ; Delinquency , articles on Psychological aspects and Delinquent gangs ; Identity , Psychosocial ; Infancy ; Llfe cycle ; and in the biography of Hall. New York : Knopf. Bandura, Albert; and Walters, Richard h. New York : Ronald Press. Barker, Roger g. Evanston, lll. Psychiatry 1 Dennis, Wayne The Adolescent. New York: Wiley.

About this book Psychology Revivals Bundle: Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood (Psychology Revivals) (Volume 6) (): Nathan. Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood (Psychology Throughout the volume the author attempts to link cognitive styles with other ISBN ; ISBN ; Product Dimensions: 6 x x 9.

Eichorn, Dorothy h. Part 1: Child Psychology. Erikson, Erik h.

New York: Norton. New York: International Universities Press. New York: Macmillan; London: Hogarth. Gesell, Arnold; Ilg, Frances l. New York: Harper. Homewood, III. Hall, Calvin s. New York: Wiley; London: Chapman. Hall, G. Princeton Review New Series 9: New York: Appleton. Havighurst, Robert j. New York: Longmans.

New York: Basic Books. Jaensch, Erich r. Jones, Mary c. Child Development Kroh, Oswald Entwicklungspsychologie des Grundschulkindes. Langensalza Germany : Beyer. Lersch, Philipp Aufbau der Person. Munich: Barth. American Journal of Sociology New York: Morrow. More, Douglas m. Society for Research in Child Development, Monographs 18, no. Mussen, Paul; and Bouterline-Young, H. Vita humana Muuss, Rolf e.

New York: Random House. Osiander, Friedrich b. Munich: Reinhard. Spranger, Eduard Psychologie des Jugendalters. Stratz, C. Stuttgart Germany : Enke. With a critical appraisal of the theory by Patrick Mullahy. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. July 10, Retrieved July 10, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Sometimes referred to as teenage years, youth, or puberty, adolescence covers the period from roughly age 10 to 20 in a child's development. In the study of child development , adolescence refers to the second decade of the life span, roughly from ages 10 to The word adolescence is Latin in origin, derived from the verb adolescere, which means "to grow into adulthood. Population projections indicate. There is no single event or boundary line that denotes the end of childhood or the beginning of adolescence. Rather, experts think of the passage from childhood into and through adolescence as composed of a set of transitions that unfold gradually and that touch upon many aspects of the individual's behavior, development, and relationships.

These transitions are biological, cognitive, social, and emotional. The biological transition of adolescence, or puberty , is perhaps the most salient sign that adolescence has begun. Technically, puberty refers to the period during which an individual becomes capable of sexual reproduction. More broadly speaking, however, puberty is used as a collective term to refer to all the physical changes that occur in the growing girl or boy as the individual passes from childhood into adulthood. The timing of physical maturation varies widely. In the United States today, menarche, the first menstrual period, typically occurs around age 12, although some youngsters start puberty when they are only eight or nine, others when they are well into their teens.

The duration of puberty also varies greatly: eighteen months to six years in girls and two to five years in boys. The physical changes of puberty are triggered by hormones , chemical substances in the body that act on specific organs and tissues. In boys a major change is the increased production of testosterone, a male sex hormone, while girls experience increased production of the female hormone estrogen.

In both sexes, a rise in growth hormone produces the adolescent growth spurt, the pronounced increase in height and weight that marks the first half of puberty. Perhaps the most dramatic changes of puberty involve sexuality.

Internally, through the development of primary sexual characteristics, adolescents become capable of sexual reproduction. Externally, as secondary sexual characteristics appear, girls and boys begin to look like mature women and men. In boys primary and secondary sexual characteristics usually emerge in a predictable order, with rapid growth of the testes and scrotum, accompanied by the appearance of pubic hair. About a year later, when the growth spurt begins, the penis also grows larger, and pubic hair becomes coarser, thicker, and darker. Later still comes the growth of facial and body hair, and a gradual lowering of the voice.

Around mid-adolescence internal changes begin making a boy capable of producing and ejaculating sperm. In girls, sexual characteristics develop in a less regular sequence. Usually, the first sign of puberty is a slight elevation of the breasts, but sometimes this is preceded by the appearance of pubic hair. Pubic hair changes from sparse and downy to denser and coarser. Concurrent with these changes is further breast development. In teenage girls, internal sexual changes include maturation of the uterus, vagina, and other parts of the reproductive system.

Menarche, the first menstrual period, happens relatively late, not at the start of puberty as many people believe. Regular ovulation and the ability to carry a baby to full term usually follow menarche by several years. For many years, psychologists believed that puberty was stressful for young people.

We now know that any difficulties associated with adjusting to puberty are minimized if adolescents know what changes to expect and have positive attitudes toward them. Although the immediate impact of puberty on the adolescent's self-image and mood may be very modest, the timing of physical maturation does affect the teen's social and emotional development in important ways.

Early-maturing boys tend to be more popular, to have more positive self-conceptions, and to be more self-assured than their later-maturing peers, whereas early-maturing girls may feel awkward and self-conscious. A second element of the passage through adolescence is a cognitive transition. Compared to children, adolescents think in ways that are more advanced, more efficient, and generally more complex.


This can be seen in five ways. First, during adolescence individuals become better able than children to think about what is possible, instead of limiting their thought to what is real. Whereas children's thinking is oriented to the here and now — that is, to things and events that they can observe directly, adolescents are able to consider what they observe against a backdrop of what is possible — they can think hypothetically.

Second, during the passage into adolescence, individuals become better able to think about abstract ideas. For example, adolescents find it easier than children to comprehend the sorts of higher-order, abstract logic inherent in puns, proverbs, metaphors, and analogies. The adolescent's greater facility with abstract thinking also permits the application of advanced reasoning and logical processes to social and ideological matters.

This is clearly seen in the adolescent's increased facility and interest in thinking about interpersonal relationships, politics, philosophy, religion, and morality — topics that involve such abstract concepts as friendship , faith, democracy, fairness, and honesty.

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Third, during adolescence individuals begin thinking more often about the process of thinking itself, or metacognition. As a result, adolescents may display increased introspection and self-consciousness. Although improvements in metacognitive abilities provide important intellectual advantages, one potentially negative byproduct of these advances is the tendency for adolescents to develop a sort of egocentrism, or intense preoccupation with the self.

Acute adolescent egocentrism sometimes leads teenagers to believe that others are constantly watching and evaluating them, much as an audience glues its attention to an actor on a stage. Psychologists refer to this as the imaginary audience. A fourth change in cognition is that thinking tends to become multidimensional, rather than limited to a single issue.

Whereas children tend to think about things one aspect at a time, adolescents can see things through more complicated lenses. Adolescents describe themselves and others in more differentiated and complicated terms and find it easier to look at problems from multiple perspectives. Being able to understand that people's personalities are not one-sided, or that social situations can have different interpretations, depending on one's point of view, permits the adolescent to have far more sophisticated — and complicated — relationships with other people.

Finally, adolescents are more likely than children to see things as relative, rather than absolute. Children tend to see things in absolute terms — in black and white. Adolescents, in contrast, tend to see things as relative. They are more likely to question others' assertions and less likely to accept "facts" as absolute truths. This increase in relativism can be particularly exasperating to parents, who may feel that their adolescent children question everything just for the sake of argument. Difficulties often arise, for example, when adolescents begin seeing their parents' values as excessively relative.

In addition to being a time of biological and cognitive change, adolescence is also a period of emotional transition and, in particular, changes in the way individuals view themselves and in their capacity to function independently. During adolescence, important shifts occur in the way individuals think about and characterize themselves — that is, in their self-conceptions. As individuals mature intellectually and undergo the sorts of cognitive changes described earlier, they come to perceive themselves in more sophisticated and differentiated ways.

Compared with children, who tend to describe themselves in relatively simple, concrete terms, adolescents are more likely to employ complex, abstract, and psychological self-characterizations. As individuals' self-conceptions become more abstract and as they become more able to see themselves in psychological terms, they become more interested in understanding their own personalities and why they behave the way they do. Conventional wisdom holds that adolescents have low self-esteem — that they are more insecure and self-critical than children or adults — but most research indicates otherwise.

Although teenagers' feelings about themselves may fluctuate, especially during early adolescence, their self-esteem remains fairly stable from about age 13 on. If anything, self-esteem increases over the course of middle and late adolescence. Most researchers today believe that self-esteem is multidimensional, and that young people evaluate themselves along several different dimensions. As a consequence, it is possible for an adolescent to have high self-esteem when it comes to his academic abilities, low self-esteem when it comes to athletics, and moderate self-esteem when it comes to his physical appearance.

One theorist whose work has been very influential on our understanding of adolescents' self-conceptions is Erik Erikson , who theorized that the establishment of a coherent sense of identity is the chief psychosocial task of adolescence. Erikson believed that the complications inherent. During the psychosocial moratorium, the adolescent can experiment with different roles and identities, in a context that permits and encourages this sort of exploration.

The experimentation involves trying on different personalities and ways of behaving. Sometimes, parents describe their teenage children as going through "phases. For most adolescents, establishing a sense of autonomy, or independence, is as important a part of the emotional transition out of childhood as is establishing a sense of identity. During adolescence, there is a movement away from the dependency typical of childhood toward the autonomy typical of adulthood. One can see this in several ways.

First, older adolescents do not generally rush to their parents whenever they are upset, worried, or in need of assistance.

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Second, they do not see their parents as all knowing or all-powerful. Third, adolescents often have a great deal of emotional energy wrapped up in relationships outside the family ; in fact, they may feel more attached to a boyfriend or a girlfriend than to their parents. And finally, older adolescents are able to see and interact with their parents as people — not just as their parents. Imprint Psychology Press.

Pages pages. Subjects Behavioral Sciences. Export Citation. Get Citation. Kogan, N. Johnson was cast as Blue's voice because, of the show's crew, she was able to sound the most like a dog. Nick Balaban, who wrote the music for the show along with Michael Rubin, was cast as the voice of Mr. Balaban initially used a Brooklyn accent for Mr. Salt before settling on a French accent. Steve, the host, presents the audience with a puzzle involving Blue, the animated dog To help the audience unlock the puzzle, Blue leaves behind a series of clues, which are objects marked with one of her paw prints.

In between the discovery of the clues, Steve plays a series of games — mini-puzzles — with the audience that are thematically related to the overall puzzle As the show unfolds, Steve and Blue move from one animated set to another, jumping through magical doorways, leading viewers on a journey of discovery, until, at the end of the story, Steve returns to the living room.

There, at the climax of the show, he sits down in a comfortable chair to think — a chair known, of course, in the literal world of Blue's Clues , as the Thinking Chair. He puzzles over Blue's three clues and attempts to come up with the answer. Nickelodeon researcher Daniel R. Anderson called the structure of Blue's Clues a game that presented its viewers with increasingly challenging and developmentally appropriate problems to solve.

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They used content and production characteristics such as pacing which gave children time to respond, [43] as well as "camera techniques, children's voices, musical cues, sound effects, clear transitions, repeatable dialogue, and visuals. The purpose of the recurrent formats and content, which were similar in every episode, was to increase viewers' attention, comprehension, and participation during key educational lessons.

Nickelodeon originally aired the same episode daily for five days before showing the next one. The producers believed this telecast strategy empowered young children by giving them many opportunities to master the content and problems presented to them. The creators' and producers' goals were to "empower, challenge, and build the self-esteem of preschoolers" [46] while entertaining them. Kessler, Santomero and Johnson were influenced by Sesame Street , the first children's television program to utilize a detailed and comprehensive educational curriculum developed from research.

Unlike Sesame Street , which tested a third of its episodes, [55] the Blue's Clues research team field tested every episode three times with children aged between two to six in preschool environments such as Head Start programs, public schools, and private day care centers. There were three phases of testing: content evaluation, video evaluations, and content analysis.

As Anderson stated, the formative research team served "as a liaison between the feedback provided by the preschoolers and outside advisers and the production team, including writers, talent, producers, directors, element artists, and animators. Blue's Clues co-creator and producer Angela Santomero [59]. Twenty years worth of research had showed that television, a "cultural artifact" accessible to most American children, could be a "powerful educational agent. They wanted to provide their viewers with more "authentic learning opportunities" [52] by placing problem-solving tasks within the stories they told, by slowly increasing the difficulty of these tasks, and by inviting their involvement.

The producers wanted to foster their audience's sense of empowerment by eliciting their assistance for the show's host and by encouraging their identification with the character Blue, who served as a stand-in for the typical preschooler. Sesame Street reflected the prevailing view that preschoolers had short attention spans; it featured a magazine-like format [43] consisting of varied segments.

Previous children's television programs presented their content with little input from their viewers, but Blue's Clues was one of the first children's shows to actively invite its viewers' involvement. Its creators believed that if children were more involved in what they were viewing, they would attend to its content longer than previously expected—for up to a half hour—and learn more.

They also dropped the magazine format for a more traditional narrative format. As Variety magazine stated, " The choice for Blue's Clues became to tell one story, beginning to end, camera moving left-to-right like reading a storybook, transitions from scene to scene as obvious as the turning of a page.

The pace of Blue's Clues was deliberate, and its material was presented clearly. After pausing, child voice-overs provided the answers so that they were given to children who had not come up with the solution and helped encourage viewer participation. Researcher Alisha M. Crawley and her colleagues stated that the show was "unique in making overt involvement a systematic research-based design element.

Blue's Clues was set in the home—the environment that was most familiar and secure for preschoolers—and looked like no other children's television show. Writers created a goal sheet, which identified their objectives based on the show's curriculum and audience needs. Script drafts, once developed and approved by the show's creators and research team, were tested at public and private schools, day care centers, preschools, and Head Start programs by three researchers, who would narrate the story in the form of a storybook and take notes about the children's responses.

The writers and creators revised the scripts based on this feedback. A rough video, in which the host performed from the revised script in front of a blue screen with no animation, was filmed and retested. The script was revised based on the audiences' responses, tested a third time with animation and music added, and incorporated into future productions. Most of the show's production was done in-house, rather than by outside companies as was customary for children's TV shows.

Blue's Clues was the first animated series for preschoolers that utilized simple cut-out construction paper shapes of familiar objects with a wide variety of colors and textures, resembling a storybook. The green-striped shirt worn by the show's original host, Steve, was inspired by Fruit Stripe gum.

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The music, produced by composer Michael Rubin and pianist Nick Balaban, was simple, had a natural sound, and exposed children to a wide variety of genres and instruments. According to Tracy, the music empowered children and gave the show "a sense of playfulness, a sense of joy, and a sense of the fantastic". The host performed each episode in front of a " blue screen ", with animation added later. Johnson hired artist Dave Palmer and production company Big Pink to create the animation from simple materials like fabric, paper, or pipe-cleaners, and scan them into a Macintosh computer so that they could be animated using inexpensive computer software such as Media , Ultimatte, Photoshop and After Effects , [74] [note 4] instead of being repeatedly redrawn as in traditional animation.

Ratings for Blue's Clues were high during its first season, and it was Nickelodeon's most popular preschool program. Starting in , a live production of Blue's Clues toured the U. Neither Hoppe nor Gallo had any previous experience in children's theater. The show's script included humor that both children and their parents could enjoy. Regional versions of the show, featuring native hosts, have been produced in other countries. The show's extensive use of research in its development and production process inspired several studies that provided evidence for its effectiveness as a learning tool.

Field tests showed that the attention and comprehension of young viewers increased with each repeat viewing. The researchers tested whether repeated viewings of the show resulted in mastery over the material presented, or whether viewers would habituate or become bored. After five viewings, more of the viewers' cognitive resources were available for interaction and participation, so they answered more questions. Episode repetition seemed to empower viewers, as shown in their enthusiastic efforts to solve the problems presented to them.

Nielsen ratings of the show's first season, when the same episode was shown daily, were flat over the five-day period, which indicated to Anderson that young children did not tire of its repetition or of its complexity over time.