Explaining parental coviewing: The role of social facilitation and arousal

Eric E. Rasmussen, Justin Robert Keene, Collin K. Berke, Rebecca L. Densley, Travis Loof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study explores the relationship between parental coviewing and children’s psychophysiological responses to television exposure within a framework of social facilitation. A total of 88 children aged 6–13 years and one of each of their parents participated in a 2 (presence or absence of the parent) × 2 (exciting or non-exciting TV content) between-subjects experiment. Results indicated that the presence of a coviewing parent was associated with an increase in children’s arousal (higher skin conductance levels) and cognitive resource allocation (lower heart rate), especially for younger children who came from homes where parental coviewing was a relatively frequent activity. These findings suggest that the mere presence of a coviewing parent is sufficient to alter children’s processing of television messages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-384
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


  • Parental mediation
  • coviewing
  • parental involvement
  • psychophysiological arousal
  • social facilitation


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