I just finished a study considering some of the claims made in the book Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Berlin Johnson. The basic premise of the argument is that contemporary forms of mass media have become so complex that it is making society smarter.
I took his claims and pondered the question: If this is true, does that then mean that students who are immersed in media-rich environments do better in school? With this in mind I used some fancy statistical techniques (old typical regression strategies paired with newer propensity score matching techniques) and I looked to see if augmented use of media leads to better student math scores.
The answer? Nope. Not the case. Students in these environments often did worse, not better, than students who were not in the environments. The good news for the gamers and TV watchers out there is that the impact was not that strong either way, but I’d say if you want to do better in school, you still better study and do your schoolwork!
I wrote up the paper this week and I will look to get it published soon. Stay tuned! -b