09/15/2011 11:02 am ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

The "SpongeBob Study": Sorting Through The Science For Take-Home Messages

By now, nearly all parents have not only heard about the “SpongeBob Study,” but have formed an opinion about it. That said, I’d still like to ask – and answer – some questions about the study just in case you are still formulating what you think and want some clarification about the details of the research.

Why did the researchers want to find out if SpongeBob SquarePants is bad for kids? This was not a study about SpongeBob SquarePants. Nor was it a study about the content of that program. This research was done to see if preschoolers “executive function” – a number of cognitive skills that include attention and delay of gratification – was immediately influenced by the pace of a television show.