Acquisition of geographic information from television news maps

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

University students were shown simulated television newscasts and then tested on the news material to see if maps within the newscast aided learning world geographic information. Students were shown one of eight simulated newscasts, of three news stories, Each newscast contained maps, varying in complexity. There were five levels of complexity. One group viewed a simulated newscast with no maps, while other groups viewed simulated newscasts containing maps with 6, 10, or 14 variables per map. A control group saw no newscasts. The order of news story presentation was varied.

Students who viewed one of the newscasts did better than students who did not see one, and the average number of correct answers increased as the maps in the news programs increased in map complexity. However, the group viewing the most complex maps--the 14 variable maps, did not perform better than those who saw the 10-variable maps.