School & District Management

Study: “SpongeBob” Dampens Children’s Brain Function

By Catherine Gewertz — September 12, 2011 1 min read

Say it ain’t so: Bright yellow, squishy undersea guys can harm our littlest children.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, a new study finds that immediately after watching “SpongeBob SquarePants,” 4-year-olds experience a drop in the “executive function” of their brains. Researchers compared the brain functions of SpongeBob watchers with those of other 4-year-olds who watched the slower-paced PBS program, “Caillou,” and those who spent the same amount of time coloring with markers and crayons.

You gotta love Nickelodeon’s defense of its squishy yellow guy: In a statement released to CNN, the network faulted the lack of diversity in the study’s research subjects and noted that the show wasn’t intended for 4-year-olds, but for 6- to 11-year- olds.

This story’s got squishy, little yellow legs. In addition to CNN, Forbes and ABC, it’s already reached across the pond to the Guardian.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.