Even all sorts of great activities in the neo-cortex, as soon as these activities have completed themselves and no longer need to be developed, the lowest systems can take them over and handle them on an autonomic basis, automatic basis. So this is precisely what happens with television, very rapidly, no learning is involved whatsoever. Now what this means, if the child doesn’t get any other kind of stimulus, even if that’s the major stimulus coming in, the major part of his time as it is, in order to rack up 5,000 to 6,000 hours in the first five years of life. Then, you fail to activate and bring into play a major part of the neural structure of the neo-cortex and the affective brain as it interacts with that to build new neural structures. So you get there a loss of neural development, simply a failure to development those parts of the brain.
Now the problem is nature’s dicta is use it or lose it and so you will get an actual atrophying, a slow withering away of processes that are not there. I think they can always be reactivated and can be re-stimulated but it would take a lot of work. We don’t need to say anything more about television than that, with the qualification, that if the child doesn’t receive other stimuli.
We don’t have to say anything more about television with the exception that now about 70% of your children are really now in serious trouble, they’re moving toward that, but we have an awful lot of very bright and functional children and the system is still moving right along. What about these children? They also saw television but they also, and any study shows this, they also did not suffer a lot of the other things that these children do and they were played with by their parent, they were told some stories by their parents. And I think one of the great ironies if they are played with, if they do develop play, if they do develop the capacity for internal imaging then the television is viewed on an entirely different level. They are able to bring in the television stuff as content and make a response to it on a much different level and broader level than the other children. They might still entrain to it and go kind of catatonic with it as they would a storytelling but something more is happening because they simply have a wider neural basis on which to process that kind of a phenomena.