Children's Reactions to Dreams Conveyed in Mass Media Programming

Barbara J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This experiment assesses children's reactions to dreams conveyed in mass media programming. A total of 120 children from two grade levels (kinder-garten and first vs. second through fourth) watched one of four versions of a frightening movie scene that were created by factorially varying the inclusion of a prologue and an epilogue. Both the prologue and the epilogue relied upon standard production techniques to convey that the story was a dream. Results revealed that both age groups who saw either the prologue or the epilogue were able to recognize the dream. Moreover, the prologue reduced children's negative interpretations of and emotional reactions to the program, whereas the epilogue had no such effects. The findings are consistent with research on children's comprehension of formal features and with the idea that formal features can activate schemata.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-305
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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