Are books better than TV?
Our transformation into a visual society helps children and adolescents less than enhances their work with cognitive operations. The image is even more totalitarian and enigmatic than the word. Conceptualization, generalization, abstraction represent operations that are mostly performed by using verbal language. Language is unanimously accepted as a fundamental form of our cognitive activity. Each experience regarding the reality is developed by means of rational activities of knowing and analyzing, and these are manifested in the linguistic signs.
Visual culture is based on images rather than on concepts, words being replaced by images, and the impact of the images speed overshadowing visual aspect of writing and reading. Accordingly, the visual culture triggered a decadency of illiteracy and illiteracy favored visual supremacy.
Superiority of reading lies in the great freedom of handling text, as reading graphic signs has a fundamental role in the activation of cognitive structures, in the development of the human capacity to think and develop concepts. Between reading a movie and reading a book, the difference is between the cognitive activities involved in the reception. On one hand, the image reception is rather passive, the imagery flow is absorbed without apparently consistent effort, and, on the other hand, reading a text involves a complex process of making representations, reformulation and deciphering the written text.
The literature emphasizes the negative effects of television on brain development, revealing narrowed cortical activity level, decreases in frequency brain waves that pass from beta state to predominantly beta and delta state, decreased left hemisphere activity, endangering areas of the prefrontal cortex, and partial interruption of the connection between the two hemispheres.
Television, transmitting information especially through images, predominantly activates the and simultaneously inhibit the left hemisphere. Logical, analytical thinking, accurate expression, reading, writing are endangered by excessive TV watching. The right hemisphere is the universe of thought without language, nonverbal understanding, recognition of shapes, spatial perception. The information approached refers to colors,analogies, structures, sketches and diagrams.
The right hemisphere is the universe of dreams, imagination, color, 3D visual representation. Its ways of expression are non-verbal, its operation way is based on associations. Imagination and intuition are its dominant functions, therefore it is considered the center of the artistic skills.
The left hemisphere representation translates any perception into logical, semantic and phonic representations of reality. The predominance of the left hemisphere means taste for dictionaries, vocabulary, words, preoccupation for naming objects and classes. It represents the art of structuring sentences and making plans. The specific feature for the left hemisphere is the rational approach.
Moreover, television means mass communication, becoming a tool of manipulation, of propaganda, of perpetuating the ideology of totalitarian political systems. Subsequently, it promotes collective thinking, uniformity of views, reducing thus critical, analytical, creative thinking of the individual consuming media.
Therefore, in the long run, watching TV diminishes the capacity to engage in one’s own existence, causes passivity in planning future activities and organizing the daily schedule, cultivates boredom, disinterest, apathy, the enemies of well being and happiness.