Trash TV and the introduction of cable makes boys less intelligent, a Norwegian study claims.
Cable was rolled out gradually to Norway in the 1980s, according to a report in the Times.
The researchers work makes use of a ready-made data set, a sample of 18- to 19-year-old Norwegian men who did compulsory national service between 1970 and 2009.
Part of their training and assessment involved taking standardised IQ tests.
They found that the post 1980s generations of Norwegian draftees who had been exposed to trashy TV had lower IQs and were more likely to drop out of school.
Until 1981, children were only shown programming by the Norwegian state broadcaster which had a mandate to “contribute to public education and learning”.
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The introduction of cable saw more flashy entertainment programmes like game shows, which contributed little to public learning.
For each year that their home town had full coverage, the average IQ dropped by 0.08 points and the men were 0.33 per cent less likely to complete school.
Figures were not available for girls, who did not do national service, however when researchers looked at their school drop-out rate, they found it was not as low as the boys of the same generation, the Times said.
This begs the question of whether girls are more resistant to the 'dumbing down' effects of trash TV.
A possible reason suggested by the study was that the more children watched TV, the less they read.
The research was published in the journal Human Resources.
An Italian study, published in July, claimed similarly, that those with a greater exposure to low-brow entertainment programmes experienced a 'dumbing down' effect that affected their intelligence.
Researchers proved that Italians with access to former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's TV network Mediaset in the 1980s were much more likely to vote for him in later elections.