The Highlighted Moment Test  

  As you read this, the television is probably blaring in the background. Pause a moment to watch. You may be looking at a face speaking. Just as you are becoming accustomed to that face, there is a cut to another face. (H.M. #1) Then there may be an edit back to the first face. (H.M. #2) Then the camera may slowly draw back. (H.M. #3) Then the action suddenly shifts outdoors to the street. (H.M.#4) And so on. Each Highlighted Moment FORCES your attention for about 10 seconds. It is just like someone calling out your name, slamming a door or the phone ringing.

    Now let's do the test. Count the number of times there is a cut to another face or place, a zoom, superimposition, a voice-over, the appearance of words on the screen or some other Highlighted Moment. You will find that it goes something like this:

Highlighted Moment Test

Programming Our Count Your Count
Advertising 20-30 per minute.  
Program 8-10 per minute.  
Public T.V. 2-3 per minute  
Music Video Can't count that fast!  

    Each Highlighted Moment is timed and designed to hold your interest and attention and prevent your mind from wandering (or thinking objectively). The effect is to lure your attention forward like a mechanical rabbit teasing the greyhound. Each time you relax your attention, another Highlighted Moment lures you back.

    These artificial Highlighted Moments have the side effect of causing hyperactivity in children and stress in viewers. When children are not watching TV. they often complain, "Mom, I'm bored." They are bored because T.V. has taught them to expect real life to be as exciting as TV. programming. Additionally, Highlighted Moments contribute to the decline of the attention span. They also reduce the ability to absorb information that comes along at a natural, real, boring speed.


    As you watch television or view a movie you lose awareness of the room, the lighting fixtures, the exit signs, the chair you are sitting in, other people, in fact, you lose awareness of everything except the screen. It is as if you were there in the screen. This is immersion.

"Immersion" - paying attention without awareness of your surroundings and without conscious thought.

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