The American Academy of Pediatrics has called out Nickelodeon’s popular animated kids’ series ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ saying its fast pace hampers childrens’ cognitive development.

The criticism is based on a study from University of Virginia’s department of psychology, in which one group of four-year olds watched nine-minutes of SpongeBob, another watched nine minutes of a slower-paced PBS kids’ show, and a third was told to play with crayons for that time period. Afterwards, each group was given four tests to evaluate brain function and the SpongeBob group fared significantly worse than the other two.

Nicklodeon has fired back at the finding, telling CNN that its show is intended for six-to-11 year olds, not the pre-schoolers who took part in the study.

SpongeBob is no stranger to condemnation from outside groups. In 2005, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson ripped the show as “homosexual propaganda,” and last month ‘Fox & Friends’ anchors Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson criticized the series for promoting what they believe to be global warming hysteria.

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