Steven Johnson, a well-known writer about popular culture and the influences of information technology on popular cultures argues that television and other media (including video games) are becoming more complex with richer narrative, more characters, and more complex plot twists. Compared to 20th century media, Johnson (2006) observed the modern media landscape is comprised of “Games that force us to probe and telescope. Television shows that require us to fill in the blanks, or exercise [our] emotional intelligence. Software that makes us lean forward, not lean back” (136). He concluded that consuming media in the 21st century causes a cognitive workout in a way that 20th century media did not.
Johnson, Steven. 2006. Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making us Smarter. New York: Riverhead Books.