This just in from the Circle of Life Department: From his research linking Baby Einstein videos [by name] to decreased vocabulary development in toddlers to his earlier findings of a link between toddler TV-watching and ADHD, to his book, The Elephant In The Living Room, co-authored with his colleague Dr. Frederick Zimmerman, Dr. Dimitri Christakis is probably the Baby Entertainment Industrial Complex's worst scientific nightmare.
So much so that Disney CEO Bob Iger fires off angry takedown notices to the University of Washington, complaining about the treatment Baby Einstein got [but noticeably not countering with any actual scientific refutation of the Zimmerman/Christakis et al findings.]
And now Dr. Christakis has published a study showing that it's blocks, not DVD's, that may improve vocabulary development.
And that study was commissioned by Mega Bloks, a Canadian toymaker.
Which happens to be a major Disney licensee. With four pages of Disney character-themed blocks and playsets for 0-3 yo's alone, and dozens more for 3-5 and 5+.
If only the block sets used in the study had been Disney, the loop would have been complete. [I checked. They weren't.] Still, it's enough to turn cognitive development research into a combative bloodsport at least compelling enough for ESPN3. [which is, of course, owned by Disney.]
I think we all learned an important lesson today: never bet against The Mouse.
Mega Brands corporate site [megabloks.com]