People often worry about the TV time for kids. A new study examines the habit at the other end of life.
The more television viewers watched television, the more they remembered a list of worse words, researchers say on February 28 online Scientific reports. But the study only describes a correlation; It can not be said that a lot of time spent in front of television causes memory slips.
Researchers looked at data from 3,590 people in the UK Longitudinal Study on Aging, a long-term study of people aged 50 and older. In 2008 and 2009, participants reported how many hours per day, on average, they spent watching television. In addition to polls, participants listened to a recording of 10 common words, one word every two seconds. Then people tried to remember as many words as possible, both immediately after hearing the words and after a short delay.
Six years later, people had the same tests. The researchers found that people who watched more than 3.5 hours of television a day in 2008 or 2009 were more likely to lose their verbal memory scores six years later. The television "dose" seemed to count: beyond this 3.5 hour threshold, the more viewers watched, the later their verbal memory scores decreased.
It is unclear whether television time actually causes verbal memory problems. The opposite could be true: people who have bad memories are more likely to watch more TV. Nevertheless, researchers suggest that television could cause some type of mental stress that can contribute to memory problems.