Science Edition: Spongebob is not your friend. Also, wrinkled fingers.

First, don’t miss the CNN/Tea Party debate tonight at 6 PM MST. I’ll be live tweeting here.

Until then, here’s your factoid(s) for the day: Spongebob Squarepants is not your friend. Or your children’s’ either, for that matter.

As if anyone is surprised:

Spongebob is hazardous to your children’s health.

[R}esearchers had three groups of four-year-olds watch Spongebob Squarepants and some boring, educational cartoon on PBS, Caillou, in nine-minute increments, while one group spent the time drawing with no television on. Afterward, tests were conducted on the kids’ executive function, or the ability to remain focused. Guess what! The kids who watched Spongebob Squarepants scored “significantly worse” than the ones who watched Caillou. And the group that spent the entire nine minutes drawing instead did even better. In other words, television really is horrible.

Shocker.  Looking closer, the we should perhaps be careful due to the small sample size (sixty), but still, it’s relevant. We’ve long known that exposure to television could increase propensity for ADD in children, but in such short time increments of 9 minutes?

To those parents out there looking to use the television to calm and baby-sit excitable children, perhaps you ought to look into getting a dog or some crayons, instead. Find the study here

Also, why your fingers wrinkle in the rain:

It’s not because of water absorption. It’s to give you better grip.

In the study, an evolutionary neurobiologist and his co-authors examined 28 fingers wrinkled by water. They found that they all had the same pattern of unconnected channels diverging away from one another as they got more distant from the fingertips.

The wrinkles allow water to drain away as fingertips are pressed to wet surfaces, creating more contact and a better grip.

That’s evolution at work, you know? Read more here.

[Gawker] [Brain, Behavior, and Evolution]

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5 responses to “Science Edition: Spongebob is not your friend. Also, wrinkled fingers.

  1. But … I love SpongeBob!

    I can totally believe that it would distract kids even in 9 minute increments. Here’s the thing though; if the test was right after the activity (which is how I understood it), I bet doing something active for 9 minutes would have at least the same or worse results. They should have had some kids play soccer, ride bikes, or climb a tree and then take the test. That would be very interesting.

    The finger wrinkle study is fascinating, especially the part about the wrinkles not occurring when the nerve was cut. Great post!

    • It would be interesting. I think what was done actually did have one of the three groups do something non-tv related, like coloring on paper. That group, of the three, apparently had the highest levels of attention and focus.

      Again, though, the sample was pretty low. For myself, I know I focus a lot better when I’ve been exercising more….instead, I spend all day staring at the monitor. Heck, it’s amazing I can even comple–look! A squirrel!

  2. LOL – yeah we are all so distracted any way. I read somewhere that ADD was another form of evolution (for better or worse). Interesting theory.

    So my point on the test is that coloring on paper and playing a sport would both be considered wholesome, healthy activities but if we were to test just those two activities I think test scores would be much higher for those who were coloring because they are already “in the focus zone” so to speak.

    I agree that when I exercise in the morning I am more focused throughout the day, but presumably this test is given to the kids *right after* the activity. So I am envisioning telling Jonas to go jump on the trampoline for 9 minutes and then come right in and take a test. I think his focus levels would be about the same (or maybe worse) than after watching tv.

    In that way I think the test was biased and unfair. See what I am getting at?

  3. Pingback: Goodbye to After the Bar; Hello to | After the Bar

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