Whittle's Channel One:
Effects on Impulsive Preadolescents' Desire for Advertised Products
Teresa A. Tozzo-Lyles, M.A.,1 and Kim Walsh-Childers, Ph.D.2
University of Florida
Dept. of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, PO Box 100286,
([log in to unmask]), Gainesville, Florida 32610, (904)
College of Journalism and Communications, 3019 Weimer Hall,
([log in to unmask]), Gainesville, Flordia 32611, (904) 392-6557,2
RUNNING HEAD: Channel One
1This paper is based upon research conducted for a Master's Thesis.
Whittle's Channel One:
Effects on Impulsive Preadolescents' Desire for Advertised Products
This field experiment tested effects of Channel One commercials on
impulsive preadolescent students' purchasing preferences, such as product
liking and likelihood of buying regularly advertised products.
The most significant findings were that more impulsive students were
slightly (10%) more likely to want to buy products advertised on Channel
than were less impulsive students. Females, regardless of impulsivity,
were more likely to predict they would spend more on products advertised
exhibited more impulsive-type purchasing, compared to their male peers.
Whittle's Channel One:
Desire for Impulsive Preadolescents to Buy Products
Beginning in the 1960s and especially since the 1970s, television has been
a prevalent and influential source for socialization of children's
patterns and preferences. Early studies of this phenomonon focused on
parental interaction, parental education, and family social economic
(SES) as predictors of how children buy and of media effects on their
behaviors (Ward, Levinson, & Wackman, 1972; Ward, Wackman, & Wartella,
1977; Wimen, 1983).
In recent years, researchers have identified other factors that mediate the
effects of the media on desire to buy. Some of these individual
differences include the child's age, degree of peer influence and
interaction, and to some extent whether the child exhibits any type of
risk-taking behavior (Levine, 1987; Levine & McAnarney, 1988; Valenti &
Ferguson, 1991). Most of this research has shown that measuring and
identifying differences can be important in an everyday context.
The daily cablecast in schools of Channel One, a product of Whittle
Communications that includes 12-minutes of total programming with two
minutes of commercials daily, provides a unique opportunity to view the
effects that the program has on preadolescents' desire for advertised
products, especially on those students who are more impulsive than others.
From the onset of Whittle Communication's Channel One, controversy has
focused mainly on the two minutes of commercial advertisements during
Channel One, which began in March 1989 in five pilot high schools, is the
brainchild of Chris Whittle and currently is seen in approximately
schools nationwide by eight million middle- and high-school students
(Donaton, 1992; Konrad, 1992; Mueller & Wulfemeyer, 1993).
Schools using the program receive approximately $50,000 worth of free video
equipment (television sets, satellite dish). School officials are required
to sign a contract stating that they will show the entire program,
including the commercials intact, to at least 90 percent of the students
daily at a specified time. During this contract period, the school
show any other news program to its students. All equipment must be
if the school decides that it no longer wishes to participate (Greenberg &
Why the Controversy?
Parents, teachers and researchers have questioned whether the benefits of
receiving the program outweigh the potentially negative consequences of
exposing students to the two minutes of commercials. Supporters of
One argue that their schools receive much needed video equipment.
schools can use the equipment for other instructional purposes. The
broadcasts current news events into the classrooms in a format (i.e.,
young moderators) and stories that appeal to the teenage audience.
Supporters say the newscast presents "serious news stories" and assists
teachers in presenting current events to students via the "power tool" of
live television (Rukeyser, 1989-1990).
Opponents of the program, however, contend that the commercials are
unnecessary distractions that add nothing to the learning process and
compare the commercials on Channel One to placing ads in school textbooks
(Rudinow, 1989-90). Parents, teachers, and others opposing the program
state that children in Channel One schools are essentially forced to
the same ads they could choose to ignore at home (Martin, 1992).
Statement of Purpose
With more than 1,068 school districts currently hooked up to satellite
dishes, television news in schools seems inevitable, but some
strongly recommend commercial-free news shows such as "CNN Newsroom"
"Assignment Discover," and not Channel One (Graves, 1990).
Channel One's visual appearance -- fast-paced, stylish and full of flashy
graphics -- frequently has been compared to that of MTV; Columbia
Review called "the video-game approach to news" (Birmingham, 1990). Many
aspects of the news programming seem to prepare the audience for the
commercial material that follows. The background music in the news segments
begins to change about 30 seconds before the advertisements begin, serving
as a lead-in to the commercial by matching the ad's beat. Typically
pace of dialogue in the news segments and the ads speed up to an average
words per minute or approximately two times the normal rate of speech (Mu
rray, 1991). The ads also differ from other TV commercials, in that
time commercials are usually shorter and geared to a more general
Advertising sponsors, such as Nike, PepsiCo, Burger King and others, pay
about $157,000 for each 30-second spot on Channel One. During the 1991
school year alone, revenues from advertisements on Channel One totalled
approximately $100 million (Donaton, 1992; Kozol, 1993). Wulfemeyer and
Mueller (1992) evaluated five weeks of Channel One content during the
of 1989. They found that about 86 percent of the commercials evaluated
during this time were for products (jeans, food, etc.), with about 15
percent of the commercials being some form of public service announcement.
Whittle supplies Channel One sponsors with research that indicates that 58%
of students in Whittle schools watch the program, but a National Education
Association research project showed that only 40% of students exposed
Channel One actually watch the program (Konrad, 1992; Kleinfield, 1991;
Rudinow, 1989-90; Supovitz, 1991).
In one study, Fitzgerald (1992) found that fewer than one-fourth of the
students surveyed said they paid attention "the whole time." Carlin et
(1992) found that students and teachers in junior high and senior high
schools in Ohio reported attending to Channel One at least 65% of the
with attention to commercials rated lower (51%). Most schools choose
Channel One during homeroom periods, and this could explain the high level
of distraction and inattentiveness to the program (Mueller &
Effects of Channel One's commercials on students viewing the program have
been studied on a limited basis. In one study, which surveyed 756
exposed to Channel One daily, students evaluated products advertised on
program more favorably than non-Channel One viewers. Researchers found
students viewing the program wanted to purchase products they saw on
Channel One more than students who were not exposed to the program
(Greenberg & Brand, 1993).
Concern over the impact of commercials in schools that receive Channel One
reflects concern in previous studies of the effects of TV content,
especially early Saturday morning advertisements and violence on children.
A study by Wulfemeyer and Mueller (1992) showed that approximately 25
percent of their teen subjects said that advertising, in general, assists
them in deciding what products they will purchase (i.e., clothes,
The buying behaviors of these youngsters have a great deal to do with the
physical and mental changes brought about as a result of puberty.
pre-adolescents (10- to 12-year-olds) lack life experiences and are
less family-oriented, they are greatly influenced by their peers and are
more prone to pattern their behaviors (dressing, hair styles, etc.)
those in their peer group (Slap, 1986).
Adolescence, which can be a time of opportunity and vulnerability,
predisposes the youngster to greater sensitivity of outside (peers, etc.)
influences (Brown, Walsh-Childers, & Waszak, 1990). Adolescents not
are affected by ads, but also are affected by how the advertised
are presented, with females being especially susceptible to the
advertisements because of the constant portrayal of beauty on
commercials. They are often left feeling self-conscious (lower
because they do not resemble the "social norm" (Brown, Childers, & Waszak,
1990).Impulsiveness and Social Behavior
Impulsiveness, in teenagers and preteenagers, also involves some
physiological characteristics that are part of this risk-taking behavior.
Although much research has focused on impulsive teenagers and young
(college students) in a lab setting or as it is related to deviant
(drinking, drug abuse, sexual behavior), not much is known about
pre-adolescents (ages 10-12) and their impulsive behaviors and
The struggle for independence usually begins during ages 12 to 14, when
their is a decrease of interest in family activities and more of a
resistance to parental advice. The period preceding puberty is a time of
constant change; family members no longer get much "quality" time with
children and may feel constantly tested; peers become the primary focus of
the child's life because s/he wants to feel socially acceptable.
In general, impulsives see their behavior as a product of the environment
-- responsibility is placed on someone or something else.
The development of impulsive behavior coincides with two important aspects
of the pre-adolescent life stage: physiological and social
Adolescence is a developmental period that involves changing from
to adulthood and includes behavioral fluctuations including increasing
movement toward independence, peer acceptance, and rejecting some
conventional social behaviors (Levine, 1987).
Ferguson and Valenti (1990) theorize that impulsiveness is associated with
a dislike of thinking. If degree of impulsiveness is high, the
(child) will more likely accept and follow what his or her peers will
Developmentally, the only aspect of the adolescent that does not change
with puberty is the neural system. Chronological age does not correlate
well with biological maturation (Slap, 1986). The range of pubertal
for females is from 8 to 13 years, with completion at 13 to 18, and 95
percent grow most rapidly between 9.7 and 13.3 years. For males, onset is
9.5 to 13.5 years with completion at 13.5 to 17.5, with 95 percent of
occurring most rapidly between 11.7 and 15.3 years (Irwin & Millstein,
1986, and Peterson, 1987).
Although most studies show that boys consistently have higher levels of
most risk-taking behaviors, Heaven (1991) found that for cognitive
impulsiveness and for general impulsiveness (i.e., responding positively to
"Do you buy things on impulse?") girls were more impulsive than boys.
finding suggests that there are many dimensions to risk-taking
In younger children (under age 10), impulsivity is often, but not always,
part of other behavioral problems, such as attention-deficit
disorder (ADHD) (Halperin, Matier, Bedi, Sharma, & Newcorn, 1992).
Children with impulsive personalities are described as "those who tend to
respond quickly in problem-solving situations, failing to consider
alternatives or correctness of their responses and making errors" (Baer
Nietzel, 1991, p. 400). Their results showed that both cognitive and
behavioral interventions can improve impulsivity in children's behavior.
Impulsives react differently than those who are less impulsive when
presented with real life situations; they attend to messages differently.
Valenti and Ferguson (1991) conducted four focus groups with 22 college
students and adults (non-students) to discuss messages (about health,
sex, etc.) with impulsive risk takers. The researchers concluded that
impulsives are more challenging to the professional communicator than
risk-takers (i.e. rebellious) because of their unpredictability.
Studies have noted that impulsive individual rarely think about their
decisions and demand immediate gratification. For this reason, the
commercials on Channel One may have greater influence on impulsive
preadolescents, especially girls who can be more impulsive than boys. This
paper reports the results of a study designed to investigate whether
students who view Channel One daily are more likely than students who do not
view the program at all, to want to buy products regularly advertised on
Understanding Impulsivity Through Measures
The impulsive measures of this study were primarily based on the the Offer
Self-Image Questionnaire (OSIQ), which has helped researchers
adolescent males and females. The OSIQ (Offer, 1987) contains 130 items
that cover 11 content areas and five different "selves." The more
of these selves for impulsiveness and early-developers are the
Psychological Self, Psychological Self, Social Self, Family Self and
Relationships, and the Coping Self.
Another important measure of impulsiveness is the "causal model of
risk-taking behavior" developed by Irwin and Millstein (1986) proposes that
age of onset of biological maturity directly influences four
factors: (1) cognitive scope, (2) self-perceptions, (3) perceptions of
social environment, and (4) personal values. These factors could predict
risk-taking behavior in the adolescent.
The study of impulsiveness is pertinent in this study because it can assist
to better understand the role this characteristic may play in the
decision-making process of pre-teens. Not much has been done on this
interaction. Impulsiveness may be determined by genetics, surroundings,
gender, and degree of parental/familial involvement. To impulsive
pre-adolescents, peer preferences, including products used (food, clothing,
etc.), can determine the need or desire to purchase the product, or how
often the product is purchased.
THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Five hypotheses were generated on the relationships between independent
(impulsiveness and exposure to Channel One newscast) and dependent
and buying) variables.
(1) Regular daily viewers of Channel One will have a greater desire than
non-Channel One viewers to buy products advertised on the program.
(2) Pre-adolescent females who are daily viewers of Channel One will have
greater aided and unaided recall of products advertised on Channel One
will males who view Channel One daily.
(3) Highly impulsive pre-adolescents who are daily viewers of Channel One
will have greater aided and unaided recall of products advertised on
One than will less impulsive pre-adolescents.
(4) Impulsive pre-adolescents who are daily viewers of Channel One will have
a greater desire to buy more products advertised on Channel One than less
(5) Pre-adolescent females who are daily viewers of Channel One will have a
greater desire than males to buy products regularly advertised on
Prior to developing this study, the researchers had the opportunity to view
some Channel One newscasts. We theorized that because of the age
similarity in all students, there would not be big difference in impulsivity
between the control and experimental school.
A field experiment was done with sixth-graders from two middle schools in a
mid-sized southern university community. Students at the experimental
school, a public school, viewed Channel One daily, while those at the
control school (a Catholic elementary and middle school) never watched
Students who viewed Channel One daily were in eight first-period classes
while students from the control school were in their homeroom class.1
total of 67 students (experimental, N=51; control, N=16) participated.
On the first day, students from both control and experimental schools were
asked to complete part one of the questionnaire (one page), which
On the second day children in the control school were shown a video of the
same Channel One newscast seen in the experimental school, but commercials
were professionally deleted from the video so that there were no
breaks in between commercial segments; the news spots flowed into each
The researcher deleted the commercials in order to prevent contamination of
the study in the control school when comparing results with the
The impulsiveness scale comprised nine items. One of the impulsive
questions -- "If someone tells me I am doing something the wrong way, I
don't like that and usually get angry or have 'bad feelings" for that
person" -- was eliminated because it did not correlate with the others.
internal consistency was higher when this question was removed from the
index (.71 with all items vs. standardized Cronbach's Alpha = .73 when
The eight items were summed and averaged to create an index, and this index
was divided into three categories of high, medium, and low levels of
impulsiveness.2 The low impulsiveness group ranged from .20 to .57, the
moderate group ranged from .571 to .99, while the high group ranged from
1.00 to 1.50. Responses were "2" (indicated often), "1" (sometimes),
[Table 1 about here]
Money. Eight items in the spending scale asked students about spending
behavior. The standardized Cronbach's Alpha was .75 for this index.
[Table 2 about here]
A third index was made up of 15 items that asked students to rate their
answer about the likelihood of buying products advertised on Channel
Pepsi, Clearasil, Pizza Hut, Reeboks, Magnavox, Oil of Olay, Gator Aid,
Cheetos/Fritos, Gillette, Burger King, Noxema, Bubble-icious, Certs,
Secret. For each item, the student indicated whether they definitely
buy the item. This scale was internally consistent, with a
Cronbach's alpha of .79.
[Table 3 about here]
One of the dependent variables, unaided recall was a combination of six
questions that asked students about Channel One commercials.
The questions included: the number of products mentioned on Channel One
(open-ended question), whether Pepsi or Combo was mentioned, whether a
picture was drawn of the advertised product without labeling the product,
whether a picture drawn of the advertised product with Pepsi or Combo
labeled in the picture, and whether the picture of the advertised product
was named on the line below the picture.
The six-item scale was summed and averaged, and had moderate levels of
internal consistency (standardized Cronbach's Alpha .64).
[Table 4 about here]
The mean age for all students was 11.7 years (SD = .5). Gender was about
equally distributed with 48% females (N=32) and 52% males (N=35).
(N=54) of the subjects are white, 12% (N=8) black, and 7% are "other."
When asked about parental educational level ("how far in school do you
think your mom/dad has gone?"), 82% (N=55) of all students said their
mothers had some college education, and 87% (N=58) said their fathers had
some college education.
Although some students received a large amount of money each week for an
allowance ($15 or more), most students received considerably less
When asked if they were at their "desk when Channel One started," 91%
(N=61) of all students answered "yes," with 73% (N=49) saying they "paid
attention to some or all of today's Channel One program." Of those in
Channel One school, 66% (N=44) said they like to watch newscasts some
the time, 24% (N=16) said they were interested in commercials on Channel
One, and 51% (N=34) said they liked the commercials on Channel One.
When asked about products advertised on the Channel One segment viewed on
the day of the experiment, about 71% (N=38) of students in the
school mentioned at least one product advertised (Pepsi, Combos, or
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was done with experimental and control schools
as a two-level factor and impulsiveness as a three-level factor.
Impulsiveness, school, and gender were used as independent variables for
almost all dependent variables or indexes (attention, commercial liking,
buying behavior). For consistency and uniformity, t-tests were done for
Tests of Hypotheses
(1): Regular daily viewers of Channel One will have a greater desire than
non-Channel One viewers to buy more products advertised on the program.
A t-test was used to analyze differences between schools. This was not
supported for schools on likelihood to buy products advertised on
One. The means for students in the experimental school (1.09) and
the control school (.97) were not significantly different. No
was found between highly impulsive females in both schools and and
impulsive males in both schools. Also, no significance was found when
only low impulsive females in both schools and low impulsive males in both
No significant differences were found between schools with only high
impulsive students (males and females).
When using the same t-test (i.e., both schools and comparing differences
between genders) for only low impulsive students, a significant main
was found ([t(1,23) = 1.89, p<.04]; Females, M=1.1; Males, M=.8).
In general, there were no significant differences between students of both
schools on their desire to buy products advertised on Channel One.
(2): Pre-adolescent females, who are daily viewers of Channel One, will
have greater aided and unaided recall of products advertised on Channel
A t-test was used to analyze differences between genders for those in the
experimental school. No main effect was found for gender overall, for
impulsive students overall, for high impulsive students in the
school, and for low impulsive students on aided recall of products
Combo) advertised on Channel One.
Again, for unaided recall, a t-test was used to analyze differences between
genders. No main effect was found for gender overall in both schools, and
for high impulsive students in the experimental sschool.
When a t-test was used to analyze differences for low impulsive students
only in both schools, a significant main effect was found, ([t(1,21) =
p<.04]; Females, M=.4; Males, M=.2). Low impulsive females were more
likely than low impulsive males to have greater unaided recall of
commercials on Channel One.
(3): Highly impulsive pre-adolescents who are daily viewers of Channel One
will have greater aided and unaided recall of products advertised on
Channel One then less impulsive pre-adolescents.
A t-test for main effect of impulsiveness on aided recall was not
supported. When a t-test was used to compare differences in impulsiveness
in the experimental school, but using females only, no significant main
effect was found. When using males in the experimental school only, a
significant main effect was found ([t(1,17) = 1.65, p<.06]; Low
M=.7; High impulsive, M=1.1).
Again, a t-test for the main effect of impulsiveness on unaided recall
showed no significance. When a t-test was used for main effect of
impulsiveness in the experimental school, using females only, no significant
main effect was found. When only males were used for this same comparison,
a near significant main effect was found ([t(1, 17) = 1.45, p<.08]; Low
impulsive, M=.2; High impulsive, M=.3).
(4): Impulsive pre-adolescents who are daily viewers of Channel One will
have a greater desire to buy more products advertised on Channel One
less impulsive pre-adolescents.
A t-test for main effect of impulsiveness was supported when using students
in both schools [t(1,46) = 2.32, p<.01].
When students in both control and experimental schools were asked about
likelihood of buying products advertised on Channel One, highly
students (M=1.2) were more likely than low impulsive students (M=1.0)
they would buy these products. Those who fell in the medium impulsive
category were not included for this analysis. Thus the "N" is reduced to
48. When students in the experimental school only were asked about
likelihood of buying products advertised on Channel One, highly impulsive
students (M=1.2) were more likely than low impulsive students (M=1.0)
they would buy these products. A t-test for main effect of impulsiveness
supported this hypotheses [t(1,35) = 2.23, p<.02].
When using a t-test to compare differences in impulsiveness using the
experimental school and females only, no significant main effect was
When using only males in the same analysis, a significant main effect was
found ([t(1,17) = 2.36, p<.02]; Low impulsive, M=.9; High impulsive,
High impulsive males in the experimental school are more likely, than low
impulsive males, to buy products regularly advertised on Channel One.
There was no significance when comparing (t-test) differences of
impulsiveness for females and males in the control school only.
(5): Pre-adolescent females who are daily viewers of Channel One will have
a greater desire to buy products, that are regularly advertised on Channel
One, than males.
A t-test was used to analyze differences between genders for likelihood of
buying products on Channel One. This was not supported. When
pre-adolescent males and females in the experimental school were asked
likely is it that they would buy products regularly advertised on
One, the means for females (1.1) and males (1.1) were about about the
When a t-test was used to analyze differences between genders in the
experimental school, using highly impulsive students only, no significant
main effect was found. When a t-test was used to analyze differences
between genders for low impulsive students only (in experimental school), a
near significant main effect was found ([t(1,18) = 1.38, p<.09);
=1.1; Males, M=.9).
[Table 5 about here]
POST HOC ANALYSIS
ANOVA was used to determine the interactions of impulsiveness3 with gender
for aided and unaided recall of products advertised on Channel One (as
scale and with products individually), parental education, race, amount
spent weekly (as a scale and with expense categories individually),
behavior, and attention to Channel One, for interactions.
ANOVA was used for likelihood of purchasing each product that was
individually listed in the 15-item "Ads" scale with gender and
impulsiveness. Although gender did not significantly interact with
impulsiveness for any product, there were main effects for gender for: Oil
of Olay [Female, M=1.0; Male, M=.3; F(1,44) = 14.77, p<.001], Noxema
products [Female, M=1.0; Male, M=.3; F(1,46) = 15.00, p<.001], and Secret
deodorant [Female, M=1.2; Male, M=.3; F(1,46) = 21.46, p<.001].
more likely to buy beauty and hygience products than males.
A significant main effect was found for impulsiveness on: Gator Aid [Low,
M=1.2; High, M=1.6; F(1,44) = 4.06], p<.05], Fritos snacks [Low, M=1.0;
High, M=1.5; F(1,44) = 5.00, p<.03], Bubble-icious bubble gum [Low, M=.9;
High, M=1.3; F(1,46) = 7.39, p<.01], and Sure deodorant [Low, M=.7;
=1.2; F(1,46) = 8.37, p<.01]. Impulsives are more likely to buy food
snacks such as Gator Aid, Fritos snacks, Bubble-icious bubble gum, and
products such as Sure deodorant probably because food items seem more
appealing, and they may have chosen Sure because it may be a popular item
with their peers.
A significant main effect was found on "never having enough money" to spend
[Female, M=.5; Male, M=.9; F(1,46) = 3.94, p<.05]. Females are less likely
to feel they have little or no money to spend.
A significant interaction was found for impulsiveness and gender on having
"money in an account." For males, impulsiveness had no effect on
money in a savings account (Low vs. High Impulsiveness, M=1.4 vs.
But high impulsive females are more likely to have less money in a
account (M=1.1) than females who are low impulsives (M=1.9); [F(1,46) =
[Figure 1 about here]
Impulsiveness and Exposure to Channel One
A significant main effect was found for school on "Did you pay attention to
today's Channel One show" [Experimental school, M=.6; Control school,
M=1.0; F(1,45) = 6.47, p<.01]. Children in the control school are more
likely to have paid attention to the Channel One newscast on this
A significant main effect for school was found for exposure to Channel One
on "I buy a product because I know it is good" [Experimental, M=1.4;
Control, M=1.8; F(1,46) = 3.95, p<.05]. Those in the control school were
more likely to say that they buy a product because they know it is
Impulsiveness with likelihood of buying products and weekly spending
A significant main effect was found for likelihood of buying products
advertised on Channel One with (average) amount of money spent. The
scale included the average amount of money spent each week on clothes,
snack food, lunch food, make up, hair products, sports items, electronics
and other items. Only low spenders (N=23, M=$1.18) and high spenders
M=$21.57) were used for analysis with impulsiveness and likelihood of
products advertised on Channel One [Low, M=.9; High, M=1.4; F(1,21) = 4.22,
p<.05]. Only low and high spenders were used for the similar reasons that
low and high impulsives were used for analysis -- to see if the amount
spending dictated differences for this behavior. Impulsive
who spend more money are more likely to buy products advertised on
Parental education and race with likelihood of buying products advertised on
Child's race and father's education interacted to affect the likelihood of
getting money from parents to buy something the student wanted [F(1,61)
[Figure 2 about here]
Minority students whose father had a high school degree or less indicated a
greater likelihood of getting more from parents to buy something they
wanted (M=2.0) than did non-minority students (M=.3). But among those
fathers who had more than a high school education, minority status made
difference (M=1.1, non-minority; vs. M=1.2, minority).
A significant main effect was found on child's race and father's education,
and child's race and mother's education on buying: Reeboks [Non-minority,
M=1.0; Minority, M=1.7; F(1,61) = 10.36, p<.002], Magnavox products
[Non-minority, M=1.3; Minority, M=.7; F(1,61) = 5.39, p<.02], Fritos snacks
[Non-minority,M=1.1; Minority, M=1.7; F(1,59) = 7.03, p<.01], and
Bubble-icious bubble gum [Non-minority, M=1.1; Minority, M=1.5; F(1,61) =
5.06, p<.03]. Non-minority students said they were more likely to buy
Magnavox products, while minority students said they were more likely to
Reeboks, Fritos snacks, and Bubble-icious gum.
A significant main effect was also found for Mother's education on Pepsi
[High school or less, M=1.7; Some college of more, M=1.3; F(1,61) =
<.05]. Students whose mother had a high school education or less, were
likely to pick Pepsi. Students in the experimental school whose mother's
had a high school education or less were more likely to say they "liked
commercials" on Channel One [High school or less, M=1.0; Some college
more M=.6; F(1,44) = 6.07, p<.02].
This study investigated possible relationships between impulsiveness in
pre-adolescents and desire to purchase products regularly advertised on
Although much research has been done on how students attend to the overall
segments of the newscast, how much knowledge is gained from the daily
viewing, and specifically, attention to commercials and commercial liking,
no research has provided insight on how impulsive pre-adolescents react
Summary of Hypotheses
In general, there was no significant difference between genders on aided
and unaided recall of products advertised on Channel One, but females
experimental school were more likely than males to want to buy products
that were regularly advertised on the newscast. No significant
was seen in degree of impulsivity on aided and unaided recall of
advertised on Channel One, but high impulsive preadolescents in the
experimental school were more likely than low-impulsives to buy products
that were advertised on the newscast. No difference was found between
Channel One and experimental school in likelihood to buy products
on the newscast.
Degree of impulsiveness did not differ between control and experimental
schools, but those in the control school were more likely to say they
buy a product because they knew "it was good." Although most of the
hypotheses were not supported, other interesting findings emerged from this
study, such as knowledge about how gender interacts with impulsiveness
spending money, and the degree to which pre-adolescents are likely to
specific products usually advertised on Channel One.
Females, regardless of degree of impulsiveness, are less likely to have
enough money to spend and less likely to have money in savings, than
male peers. Students who regularly view Channel One were more likely
products regularly advertised on the newscast. These results are partially
supported by findings from Heaven (1991), whose study found that females
are generally more impulsive by nature, including buying behavior, and
Greenberg and Brand (1993), who found that those who are daily viewers of
Channel One are more likely to have a favorable attitude towards
advertised on the newscast.
More impulsive students were more likely to buy products (in general)
advertised on Channel One, and also more impulsive students in the
experimental school were more likely to buy specific products (Gator Aid,
Fritos snacks). Impulsive students who spend more money on a weekly
for specific products (make up, sports items, etc.) are more likely to
to buy products advertised on Channel One.
When analyzing the effect of parental education and (child's) race on
buying products advertised on Channel One, some significance was found for
child's race on specific products (Reeboks, Magnavox, Fritos snacks,
Bubble-icious bubble gum).
Limitations of the Study
The researcher acknowledges that the "desire to buy" a product is no
indication that the product will actually be bought. The questionnaire was
worded in the manner presented because this was consistent with the
of other surveys and questionnaires used in studies for this age group.
Therefore, acknowledging that a student would like to buy a product does
conclude that they will actually buy that product or influence a parent or
other family member to buy the product.
Although the questionnaire was tailored for children in the 10-12 year old
range, there should have been more specific questions presented about
commercials on Channel One. The questions were specifically revised
students 10 - 12 years of age, but some questions still were not clear.
As for the four scales, three had an internal consistency that was
moderately high (.70 or above), while the scale for unaided recall of
products was less consistent (.64). The findings for unaided recall may
have less validity than the other findings.
This study was a quasi-experimental design (a "Nonequivalent Control Group
Design") because of the impossibility of randomly assigning students to
Channel One school.
No great differences in impulsiveness existed between children in the
control and experimental schools according to the analysis of variance.
the atmosphere and students in the control school was quite different,
partially due to the school being smaller than the experimental school, a
different curriculum, and the control school being private (parochial)
Christian. It is difficult to ascertain what degree of educational
differences in the two schools. This aspect was not compared in the study.
Although children in the control school were actually distracted from their
routine, they seemed to be able to answer all questions with more leisure
than those in the Channel One school. This change in routine could
affected their attention and recall to the Channel One tape they viewed,
minus the commercials.
The results of this study should not be generally applied to other schools,
even in the same community because this would be premature.
In addition, the study should have had a larger control group. The number
of students used in a control group was due to time constraints and
limited number of control schools were available for the study.
Another limitation of the study was that the attitude of the children who
viewed Channel One daily, toward the newscast, could not be observed
the course of the school year.4 For many students in the sixth-grade
classrooms of the experimental school, this was their first exposure to
Channel One. Students may be more interested, or be more attentive to
newscast, at the begining of the school year.
The researcher believes that Channel One could be beneficial, or at the
least, cause little harm to pre-adolescents exposed to the newscast on a
The school environment should be considered as a whole, and not as a part
of a whole. If integrated into the school curriculum, Channel One has
potential to help students better understand current events. The
Channel One, which includes young narrators, produces stories that are
visually attractive to the teenager and pre-teenager.
The controversy surrounding Channel One is predominatly focused on the two
minutes of commercials during the newscast, and administrators are
about the influence of commercials and advertisements. The commercials on
Channel One can be used to teach students how advertisers and producers
atmosphere, music, color, and characters to sell their products. Also,
there are many other forms of advertisements that inhabit schools, such
magazines, videos, and vending machines.
No significant difference was seen in how likely students in the control
and experimental school were to pick products advertised on Channel
Since students in both schools were exposed to these products and to
commercials outside the classroom, Channel One has little effect, in
general, on how many students desired to buy these products.
Females from both schools were more likely to have less money to spend and
have less money in savings, and were more likely to buy certain
such as beauty aids, regularly advertised on Channel One. Highly
students were more likely to buy products generally advertised on
One, and were also more likely to buy specific products, such as food
The literature on teenage females show that they are more likely to have
greater body dissatisfaction and eating disorders and attend to TV and
portrayals of females as glamorous. This may be because the onset of
puberty for females begins approximately one year before males, and
follow what they see on TV and print.
Pre-adolescent females and highly impulsive students seem to be more likely
to buy products, and females also seem to have greater impulsive spending
behavior than their male counterparts.
Future research in the area of impulsiveness and studies on Channel One
should concentrate on changes in attitude to products advertised on the
program. Studies should compare beginning of school year and end of
Two schools that view Channel One should be chosen, in addition to two
control schools. The population of both the experimental and control
should be larger, giving more diversity to the study.
1Students from the experimental school were chosen from classrooms whose
teachers volunteered to participate in the study. Students in these
classrooms were given permission forms to take home and return to their
first-period class teachers. Teachers were briefed about the study and
instructed how to collect the permission forms. The control school had
one sixth-grade classroom, but the procedure for collecting consent forms,
and instruct- ing the teacher was the same as in the Channel One
2Only those high in impulsiveness (N=24) or low impulsives (N=26) were used
in this analysis. Those with moderate impulsiveness scores were
3Only those high in impulsiveness (N=24) or low impulsives (N=26) were used
in this analysis. Those with moderate impulsiveness scores were
4This study was conducted at the end of the 1992-93 school year.
Impulsiveness Scale Items*
_Individual Item Mean SD _
_1. I laugh a lot without being able to 1.09 .71 _
_ control what I am doing. _
_2. I am afraid something will happen. 1.08 .64 _
_3. I get angry very easy over most things. .94 .67 _
_4. When others are demanding or want .90 .68 _
_ things from me and want them right NOW, _
_ I cannot stay calm. _
_5. I stay mad at people for a long time .84 .67 _
_ for something they did. _
_6. I cannot control my temper. .78 .57 _
_7. If someone tells me I am doing .66 .59 _
_ something the wrong way, I don't like _
_ that and usually get angry or have "bad _
_ feelings" for that person.a _
_8. I cannot control myself. .58 .66 _
_9. I cry a lot without being able .43 .61 _
_ to control what I am doing. _
_10.I get very much out of control .33 .56 _
_ (violent) if I do not get "my way." _
_ Scale Mean = .76, SD = .33 _
Average Amount of Money Spent Each Week on Specific Purchases
_ Individual Item Mean SD _
_1. Amount spent on clothes $15.39 $37.29 _
_2. Amount spent on sports items 7.86 22.97 _
_3. Amount spent on food (snacks) 5.92 8.69 _
_4. Amunt spent on electronic games 5.77 18.79 _
_5. Amount spent on food (school lunch) 3.74 7.45 _
_6. Amount spent on hair products 2.99 5.43 _
_7. Amount spent on other items 1.92 6.29 _
_8. Amount spent on make-up .53 1.45 _
_ Scale Mean = $5.27, SD = $9.29 _
Likelihood of Buying Brands Advertised on Channel One
_ Advertised Products Mean SD _
_1. Pizza Hut 1.46 .61 _
_2. Burger King 1.42 .64 _
_3. Pepsi** 1.36 .65 _
_4. Gator Aid 1.32 .68 _
_5. Certs products 1.21 .60 _
_6. Fritos/Cheetos (snacks)** 1.19 .73 _
_7. Reeboks 1.18 .70 _
_8. Bubble-icious bubble gum 1.17 .67 _
_9. Magnavox 1.12 .81 _
_10. Sure deodorant .94 .72 _
_11. Clearasil .91 .72 _
_12. Secret deodorant .71 .78 _
_13. Gillette .71 .76 _
_14. Noxema .67 .79 _
_15. Oil of Olay .56 .73 _
_ Scale Mean = 1.06, SD = .37 _
Unaided Recall of Products Advertised on Channel One
_ Question Mean SD _
_1). In the space provided below, .31 .74 _
_ please write in your own words, _
_ everything you remember from _
_ the Channel One program today. _
_ (Open-ended question; only number _
_ of statements about the products _
_ were used here.) _
_(2). Please draw something you remember _
_ seeing on the Channel One program _
_ today? After you draw this picture, _
_ write under it what it is. _
_ (a) Drawing of product, no label .05 .21 _
_ (b) Drawing of product with a label .06 .24 _
_ (c) Named product under picture .10 .31 _
_(3). What things were advertised on the _
_ commercials on Channel One? _
_ (a) Pepsi .59 .50 _
_ (b) Combos .35 .48 _
_ Scale Mean = .27, SD = .26 _
Aided and Unaided Recall
_ (Means)/Statistic (Means)/Statistic _
_ for Aided Recall for Unaided _
_ Recall _
_ Variable _
_Female (.80) (.32) _
_Male (.85) (.24) _
_ t(1,49)=.29, p<.39 t(1,49)=1.09, p<.14_
_Low (.76) (.30) _
_High (.94) (.30) _
_ t(1,37)=.97, p<.17 t(1,37)=.06, p<.48_
_ Likelihood of Buying Advertised Products _
_ Means Statistic _
_Female 1.14 t(1,46)=.78, p<.22 _
_Male 1.05 _
_Low .95 t(1,46)=2.32, p<.01 _
_High 1.18 _
_Channel One School: _
_Yes 1.09 t(1,62)=1.18, p<.12 _
_No .97 _
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