1. How real something is perceived as being and the criteria used to evaluate this: e.g. in relation to television, whether it involves actors, whether it is a cartoon, etc. (see also modality). In the effects tradition, typically presented as an intervening variable in behaviourist research into relations between onscreen violence and behaviour (especially in relation to children).
2. In research into children's understanding of the media, an issue which has increasingly revealed the previously underestimated sophistication of children's modality judgements: see also magic window.
http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/short/realrev.html Children's understanding of what is ‘real’ on television