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View Diary: Q&A Live: Steven Johnson (112 comments)

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  •  I do now recall a story (0+ / 0-)

    (I think it was from you or about you) where you looked at the number of plot lines in an average episode of The Wire (or was it The Sopranos?) versus Hill Street Blues (and you either did include an bad version of old cop shows like Mannix or you should have), and showed that the former was more complex.

    Well, yeah, but that doesn't prove much.  How many people watched the old shows versus the new ones, on often in the late nights in the cable era of lower audiences?

    I think that if you're talking about what people gain (or don't gain) from TV, you have to consider what age groups are watching what shows and whether the cognitive benefits to be had from watching those shows are pertinent to the viewership.

    For example, maybe "The Wire" provides complexity that would benefit the cognitive development of a 15 year old, but that doesn't matter if it's not 15 year olds who watch it.  If they're watching a show that might have done them some good at 9, but not at 15, then they don't really benefit.  Do you have evidence that the advantages are more than theoretically possible?

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