Study Shows Watching Mean People on TV May Turn You Into One: Believable or Bogus?

Living 2012/03/11 00:36:20
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We’ve all heard researchers say that watching violence in the media can lead to increased aggression. But now, a new study claims that watching onscreen gossiping, social exclusion, and emotional bullying may have a similar effect.

A group of psychology researchers showed 250 college women one of three fictional video clips. The first portrayed physical aggression (a fatal gun- and knife-fight), the second portrayed relational aggression (girls stealing boyfriends, spreading gossip, and kicking someone out of their social circle), and the third featured a scary but nonviolent scene intended to raise the heartbeat.

After showing the clips, the researchers measured the viewers’ physiological arousal. They also used a Stroop Test (a standard tool in psych research) to evaluate their reaction times to aggressive and neutral words flashed on a screen.

The researchers discovered that all three films produced similar levels of excitement, but that the participants who viewed either of the aggressive video clips reacted much more quickly to the aggressive words (when compared with the women who viewed the scary but nonviolent clip).

According to the authors, this means that, just like with physical violence, watching emotional aggression may prime the brain to emulate such behavior.

"Viewers don't simply choose to imitate TV characters or make a conscious decision to engage in aggressive behavior. Aggressive reactions are more automatic and less conscious than most people assume," said Jennifer Ruh Linder, a professor of psychology at Linfield College and one of the study’s authors.

What do you think SodaHeads? Is the study’s claim that shows like “Gossip Girl” and movies like “Mean Girls” may lead to increased relational aggression believable or bogus?

Read More: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/12030...

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Top Opinion

  • Sexuallobster 2012/03/11 04:07:21
    I believe it.

    I'm 17, I go to school with hundreds of kids who watch stupid shows like 'Jersey Shore' and 'the Kardashians' and all that crap.

    They get so obsessed with it, that they actually try to emulate the stupidity into their own lives. So yea, I believe watching a bunch of 'asses' on tv, could make impressionable people act jut like them.

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  • shylove 2012/05/02 13:59:40
    i hate mean girls they are so sluts !!!!!!
  • CheyLinds 2012/04/04 15:28:05
    I think it is believable because young girls watch these movies then think they should act like that because it will make them popular and they'll look cool.
  • Court Jo 2012/04/02 15:59:41
    Court Jo
    I think mean characters can make people mean because if you are a unpopular kid and you see on tv a popular girl because she is mean and has the "i rule the school attitude' that might make that unpopular kid think it is cool and alright and that maybe just maybe they could become popular if they act like that!
  • GLaDOS 2012/03/29 11:29:04
    "Monkey see, monkey do." It's why I generally don't care to be around people, and I try to avoid vapid programming with people I don't want to be like. After all, the protagonist of any series is like the production company saying, this is you
  • Maria 2012/03/21 14:53:35
    its believable, because when you think its awesome to be mean, because the mean people mostly look very self-confident and very satisfied with themselves ..
  • hellokitty 2012/03/15 12:22:27
    I think its rubbish, the making of the mould of your personality is in the first 5 years of your life, if you have been bought up to be a bully , or violent, have witnessed it throughout your childhood then perhaps you will resort to it more readily if you watch things like this, however if your a good natured person with a good morals then watching programs that portray these situations, will only make you feel ill inside anyway!
  • David W... hellokitty 2012/03/29 00:54:58
    David William
    False, the first 5 years of your life probably do contribute, but what person on earth stops learning after 5 years of age? Since the age of 5 have you ever modified your behavior? Why do you think T.V. commericials in the US are so insulting to watch, because the average consumer is easily manipulated.
  • hellokitty David W... 2012/03/30 19:53:38 (edited)
    yeh I agree, however the average human being can or may be manipulated into buying items, or doing things like going on a holiday, but I dont believe the average, person will go out and murder someone with a chainsaw, just because they watch some horror., unless they have some built in behaviour that has been instilled into them from childhood. watching this may explain what I have been refering too.

  • Hsmagst 2012/03/13 06:46:08
  • BJet 2012/03/12 23:46:18
    Because, before the TV shows start, I was already mean.
  • killmess 2012/03/12 20:52:55
    I'm just trolling around. The real answer is "no way!". This is a 57up1d question.
  • PokerFace 2012/03/12 20:29:16
    more like it actually teaches me to be nicer to people
  • mm61675 PokerFace 2012/03/12 22:08:49
    me too
  • Spinda 2012/03/12 20:26:22
    Duh, why do you think i'm like this?
  • Edible_toad 2012/03/12 20:17:03
    Faster reaction to aggressive words could also be caused by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system from a perceived threat, the situation they were exposed to. That in no way leads to the conclusion that it 'turns you into' what you see on TV. Not saying that it's not true, it's just not supported by the research presented here.
    Though I must say, despite watching '16 and Pregnant' I still feel no need to be a complete and utter fool and get pregnant at 16... or become a beauty pageant contestant.... or anything else I see on TV, so maybe not.
  • Lanikai 2012/03/12 20:10:44
    Watching them is one thing, acting like them entirely different thing.
  • Dayna_king 2012/03/12 19:00:26
    Just like the monkeys of history have been saying for ever.
  • Diana 2012/03/12 18:41:17
    People who are especially impressionable can be drawn to emulate certain traits, especially of a show makes such actions seem glamorous or justifiable. This might be more of an issue for younger kids.
  • heartsonfire 2012/03/12 17:42:24
    I guess it can be believable, but I also think it depends on how impressionable you are.
  • Awwmandawashere 2012/03/12 17:38:08
    I believe it I watch movies like that and sometimes I catch myself doing it. The kind of personality I have I am a really nice and giving person and I see a lot of girls watching 16 and pregnant and they always say I'm not going to be like her then two weeks later you hear that she's pregnant. Alot of girls at my school are getting pregnant and they think it is "cool." I don't watch the Jersey Shore because what's the real point of the show anyways? I can go to a party and see people like that all the time I don't have to watch it on television to know that they are idiots. I don't see why people like that show and they decide to throw a party to try out some of the stupid things they see on television. But in no way am I saying that gives the right to do these things just because they see it on t.v. but I believe that it is a factor. Monkey see monkey do lol:D
  • joe mauro 2012/03/12 17:17:42
    joe mauro
    the tv pc dvd are all powerful visual stimuli that stys with us forever
  • Bri'Anna Beatdown 2012/03/12 17:01:06
    Bri'Anna Beatdown
    Bogus because of that was true id be the meanest girl out there...I watch so many shows involving mean girls. Ido believe though drugs on shows like Degrassi can influence people to do drugs.
  • Michael 2012/03/12 16:50:08
    I say yes, because people-especially those under 25 these days-are easily impressionable and can't discern the difference from fantasy and real life
  • joe mauro Michael 2012/03/12 17:18:09
    joe mauro
    very true
  • Dickens 2012/03/12 16:24:05
    ..I find it weird that television shows can be taken so seriously...
  • Miss_Metalgirl 2012/03/12 16:12:55
    TV has HUGE influence on people, specially on kids. I can see it on my nephew and niece, watching modern cartoons.They are way more mean than my other three nephews who watch old videotaped movies and cartoons.
  • Riobhca 2012/03/12 15:59:03 (edited)
    Absolutely. Sadly, most people are such sheep and so unmindful of what is going on in their heads that they are very easily influenced by what they see. We have seen it in our society over time...Something is presented as acceptable on TV and soon all the sheoples are accepting it. Everything that is contrary to basic decency, politeness and positivity is degraded and ridiculed.

    This is one reason I never watch TV anymore. I don't want my brain rotted by the trash that is broadcast on it.
  • Ejayt7 2012/03/12 14:41:05
    Don't mix reality with makebelieve is the rule of thumb.
  • Pocahontas 2012/03/12 14:28:12
    TV is EVIL.
  • Sprout 2012/03/12 14:23:37
    they are just mean people pic of mean people suck
  • $Cori$ 2012/03/12 13:54:09
    some people. like teen-agers who watch it come to a point to where they think its okay to be mean. You know what they say' people do as was tv shows
  • Necroninja $Cori$ 2012/03/12 17:04:31
    i thought it was monkey see, monkey do..... same result, but still
  • $Cori$ Necroninja 2012/03/12 17:52:49
    mh that sounda about right
  • Shayla 2012/03/12 13:42:10
    The participants that viewed certain clips reacted faster to aggressive words. Wow, really? What's the next big story? "Breaking news: People eat food." Astounding! Of course we react faster to aggressive words! We instinctively defend ourselves and our loved ones from threat. It's not that amazing.
  • Untouched 2012/03/12 13:35:55
  • The Patriot RP 2012 2012/03/12 11:12:20
    The Patriot RP 2012
    If watching TV Shows are making you act like those you are watching, you may want to quit watching and seek professional help.
  • joe mauro The Pat... 2012/03/12 17:19:09
    joe mauro
    there arent enough shrinks on the planet !
  • SamTheSlayer [Codename: Duc... 2012/03/12 10:48:41
    SamTheSlayer [Codename: Duchess]
    I know when I watch a lot of "Archer" I feel about 30% cockier and quote the characters often. And basically all the characters are horrible people, so it's not like I'm giving people compliments.

    But I don't think it can all be blamed on TV. People will be mean because they're jerks. TV may just be a bit more of a motivator and offer more creative ways to insult or be mean to people.
  • dredogg 2012/03/12 10:45:00

  • Princess Amethyst 2012/03/12 08:43:43
    Princess Amethyst
    I don't watch TV a lot. I don't have the time for it except over lunch and dinner.
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