• U.S.

Radio: Measured Thrills

1 minute read

Many a parent and educator suspects that children’s radio programs overexcite their youthful audiences. Parent John James DeBoer, whose one child is too young to listen to radio, investigated the suspicion. He questioned 738 grammar-school children, had 486 radio-listening moppets watched, used a “photopolygraph” (modified lie detector) on 148 to measure respiration, blood pressure, pulse, electrical resistance of skin.

He wrote his University of Chicago Ph.D. thesis on The Emotional Responses of Children to Radio Drama. Last week the university revealed some of his findings: 1) Children often do have violent physiological reactions to radio programs. 2) Violent action is not the only cause of excitement—small children got a major thrill out of hearing a dog bark in his bath. 3) Biggest thrill of all in one program was the offer of a premium.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com