November 2009. Patti Valkenburg has been awarded an Advanced Investigators Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for her research project: "The entertainization of Childhood: An etiology of risks and opportunities." This is the most prestigious European award for individual researchers.

November 200. Patti Valkenburg has been awarded an Advanced Investigators Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for her research project: "The entertainization of Childhood: An etiology of risks and opportunities." This is the most prestigious European award for individual researchers.

The ERC Advanced Grant targets leading scientists in Europe. Granted projects are believed to lead to pioneering and far-reaching challenges at the frontiers of different fields, and involve new, ground-breaking or unconventional theories and methodologies, whose risky outlook is justified by the possibility of a major breakthrough with an impact beyond a specific research discipline.Twelve international ERC panel members and 6 external reviewers evaluated Valkenburg’s project and track record; both received the highest possible marks.

The granted research project aims to investigate the effects of children’s use of entertainment media (e.g., DVDs, computer games) on their cognitive abilities, anti-social behavior, and ADHD. In her earlier work, Valkenburg has often found that children differ greatly in their susceptibility to media effects. To investigate this assumption more systematically, she developed a media-effects model in which she identifies three types of individual susceptibility to media effects: Dispositional susceptibility (i.e., susceptibility due to genetic make-up and/or temperament), developmental susceptibility (susceptibility due to developmental level), and social susceptibility (i.e., susceptibility due to environmental influences).

Valkenburg will use the € 2.5 million to form a new interdisciplinary research group within CCAM, including communication scientists, geneticists, and developmental psychologists. Her great ambition is to finally truly understand media effects on children and to bring real scholarly advancement to this tremendously difficult field.

 

 

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