The Science Behind Blue’s Clues

From The Onion’s AVClub:

The show drew on decades of studies about the success of Sesame Street and other educational programming. For a long time, the conventional wisdom in academia toward educational television held that TV-watching itself was such a passive activity—and the medium so inherently distracting—that there was no way children could derive any benefit from it.  The big question Blue’s Clues’ producers wanted Anderson to help answer was whether it was possible to hold very young children’s attention spans long enough to teach them something that would actually stick. One method Anderson proposed: reducing the edits. His research showed that children have difficulty understanding montage until they get older. A sudden change of location or even camera-angle can break a child’s concentration. That’s why Blue’s Clues looks the way it does, with very few cuts, and with a host who stands in front of a background that changes mainly when he walks or when he “skidoos” to a new place. Little kids (like my easily baffled son) were able to understand where they were at all times, which made it easier for them to follow the story.

Blue’s Clues, “Occupations”

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