chapter  3
Locating The Sources of Bad Reception: A Cognitive Research Perspective
Pages 30

Rather less emphasis has been placed on the role of factors residing within the television medium that may affect learning from the news. The findings of public opinion surveys indicating that most people in the western world today say that television is the most important and most reliable source of information are largely taken for granted. The fact is, though, that people may not generally get most of their information about the world from television but may learn a great deal more from newspapers and magazines, or from simply talking to other people (Robinson & Levy, 1985; Tunstall, 1983). The reasons for this are manifold. Perhaps people learn less from television than from newspapers because the former usually provides less information than the latter. Or maybe television, as a medium of communication, is simply less effective than print. To some extent our understanding of why one medium is better than another must rely on some notion about the cognitive informationprocessing styles demanded or required by each medium. There is some evidence, for example, that people try less when learning from television than when reading because they do not believe television is a medium demanding of cognitive effort (Salomon, 1983). As will be explained, this idea is wrong. Although learning from television may require different styles of information processing from reading, in neither case will much learning occur without a certain amount of effort, especially when the information being learned is new to the learner.