Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



television, preschoolers, behavior, priming, effects, play


This thesis investigates the relationship between educational television content and children‘s play behaviors immediately after viewing. Children ages 41-43 months of age were randomly assigned to view a television program with predominantly object-constructive or social dramatic content. All children participated in a period of video viewing, approximately 25 minutes in length, followed by a 30-minute play session. Each participant was subsequently administered a brief card sorting task to assess categorical knowledge of constructive and social activities. Each child‘s session was coded for looking at the television, toy choice, and play content (constructive or social-narrative). Video viewing condition and the interaction between categorical knowledge and condition significantly predicted children‘s subsequent play content. Taken as a whole, these findings imply that short-term priming effects of educational video viewing on children‘s play are present in 42-month old children but that these effects are moderated by children‘s categorical understanding of TV content.

First Advisor

Daniel R. Anderson