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World of Science: Stupid TV DOES make you dumber
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:03 am    Post subject: World of Science: Stupid TV DOES make you dumber Reply with quote

Is Real Housewives making us stupid?
http://theweek.com/article/index/216564/is-real-housewives-making-us-stupid
Quote:
Think watching the Guidos on Jersey Shore or the bickering socialites on Real Housewives is just harmless distraction? Think again. While critics have long warned that watching reality TV does little good for our intellects, a new Austrian study bolsters that theory with research. A concise guide.

Is Snooki making me stupid?
In a way. The study explored a concept that researchers call "media priming," says Melissa Dahl at MSNBC. That means that what we watch, listen to, and read has an effect on our behavior and emotions ó "perhaps more than we realize." So watching someone on TV can actually influence your cognitive performance. "In other words, you are what you watch."

How did they study this?
Researchers at Austria's University of Linz had groups of subjects read different versions of a screenplay about a "foolish soccer hooligan" named Meier. In one version, Meier wakes up, goes to a bar, gets very drunk, goes to a soccer game, gets into a fight, comes home, and sleeps through the entire next day. "Substitute the soccer game for a night club," says Dahl, and it reads just like "the televised daily shenanigans of Snooki or The Situation." Another version left out some debaucherous details of Meier's day, while the third version was rather boring ó Meier didn't misbehave at all. The subjects were then given a multiple choice general knowledge test to gauge how the particular story they'd read had affected their thinking.

What transpired?
Subjects who read the first version ó in which Meier acts "stupidly" ó performed worse than participants who read the third version, which contained "no reference to his intellectual abilities." Any specific form of entertainment leaves our brains "predisposed in [its] direction," says psychologist Joanne Cantor, as quoted by MSNBC.

So I'll start acting like a Real Housewife if I watch the show?
"If you've been experiencing the urge to assault a close friend or wax your sisters' nether regions, we may have found the culprit," says Margaret Hartmann at Jezebel. But media priming can also have positive effects: If an opportunity to behave generously presented itself, you'd be more likely to take advantage of it when you'd just seen a movie about "really altruistic people" than if you'd just watched one "about selfish people," says Cantor. Empathetic people are most affected by media priming; so as long as you don't consider Snooki a kindred spirit, says Hartmann, you should still be able to "ward off stupidity."

Here's a link to the original paper:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15213269.2011.573461

Abstract wrote:

Media priming refers to the residual, often unintended consequences of media use on subsequent perceptions, judgments, and behavior. Previous research showed that the media can prime behavior that is in line with the primed traits or concepts (assimilation). However, assimilation is expected to be less likely and priming may even yield reverse effects (contrast) when recipients have a dissimilarity testing mindset. Based on previous research on narrative comprehension and experience as well as research on media priming, a short-term influence of stories on cognitive performance is predicted. In an experimental study, participants (N = 81) read a story about a stupid soccer hooligan. As expected, participants who read the story without a special processing instruction performed worse in a knowledge test than a control group who read an unrelated text. Participants with a reading goal instruction to find dissimilarities between the self and the main protagonist performed better than participants who read the story without this instruction. The effects of reported self-activation and story length were further considered. Future inquiries with narratives as primes and contrast effects in media effects research are discussed.

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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, it's almost as if television is a medium used to deliver propaganda or some shit!

I never would have guessed!!
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Guest



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hogwash, hogwash and more hogwash.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The worst part is its probably not just limited to stupidity. I'm sure it effects over all personality, like say, a person's views on people's of different races, cultures, or sexes (HELLO misogyny). Check this commentary on video games: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/propaganda-games
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Priming is interesting and all, but the effects are usually very small. Still, pretty much everything primes you. They've even found that when they have people sit through a video on aging they walk slower when they leave the room than those who see a different video. But it's transient. The next commercial showing 20-somethings being boisterous and fun would prime you again, obviously in the opposite way.

One theory of priming has concepts as nodes that are connected to other concept-nodes via semantic classifications or learned associations. Either way, the priming of one node ("Snooki") spreads like a ripple to connected nodes ("stupid," "Guidette," etc.) making them more likely to be activated from subsequent cues. But they can also be made less likely to be activated by priming nodes that relate negatively to those. So, you may be primed to be stupid by Snooki, but then being primed with Albert Einstein would probably level you out.
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nathan



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank god I watch House.
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Michael



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that explains the limp then
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nathan



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
One theory of priming has concepts as nodes that are connected to other concept-nodes via semantic classifications or learned associations. Either way, the priming of one node ("Snooki") spreads like a ripple to connected nodes ("stupid," "Guidette," etc.) making them more likely to be activated from subsequent cues. But they can also be made less likely to be activated by priming nodes that relate negatively to those. So, you may be primed to be stupid by Snooki, but then being primed with Albert Einstein would probably level you out.

How long's the leash on that theory? Are social settings and the associated rules of etiquette just seen as nodal centers with a shit-ton of mass?
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nathan



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
that explains the limp then

Precisely. Don't think of it as persistently self-destructive behavior; think of it as early foreshadowing of a nuanced narrative arc.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Thank god I watch House.


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Dogen



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Dogen wrote:
One theory of priming has concepts as nodes that are connected to other concept-nodes via semantic classifications or learned associations. Either way, the priming of one node ("Snooki") spreads like a ripple to connected nodes ("stupid," "Guidette," etc.) making them more likely to be activated from subsequent cues. But they can also be made less likely to be activated by priming nodes that relate negatively to those. So, you may be primed to be stupid by Snooki, but then being primed with Albert Einstein would probably level you out.

How long's the leash on that theory? Are social settings and the associated rules of etiquette just seen as nodal centers with a shit-ton of mass?

Not really. Traditionally, socialization is viewed as a higher level of functioning, in that we can consciously alter the effects of socialization, but not the effects of priming (those change slowly over time). Likewise, social mores apply even in novel situations, presumably for which we'd have no primed responses. I'm not a traditionalist, however, and I'm personally not certain where one effect ends and the other begins. I'm not a fan of strict delineations, because the brain just doesn't usually work that way.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So constant bombardment by 'teh stupids' is really the issue then? So a person who hypothetically goes to work hearing inane babble from a morning radio show host espousing pseudo-science and logical fallacies, then works at a mind numbing (literately) industrial/commercial job, comes home, then watching dumb people on TV and then playing heavily misogynistic/culturally insensitive video games is.... um, sadly very typical. Especially when this is repeated a few hundred times a year. Let's not forget this is likely also further exacerbated by poor diet choices, lack of proper sleep (both too little and too much), and a lack of exercise.

Also, don't forget a "No Child Left Behind" "High Quality" education.

Man, this explains so much.

*edit also, drugs and cigarettes and alcohol -- OH MY!
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Guest



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to think that what you watch is what you are (i.e. negative/positive priming) as it would make it much easier to identify the problem. Because then you could just "prime" differently and you're good to go. But it's not that simple.

It's true that without an influence to tell you to think critically, you're more than likely to become stupid and, more importantly, gullible. And watching Fox News certainly is detrimental, it's sure giving me a headache, and maybe priming has something to do with it. But if you have that outside influence, you're not going to become stupid watching Fox News. You're not going to become violent playing violent games. And so on. Because it doesn't work like that. The only way that would happen is if they'd watch nothing but Fox News. Nothing but violent video games. Perhaps even that is not conclusive enough to say definitely. Therefore if the study draws the conclusion that watching nothing but these shows is bound to lower your intellect, then I agree. If not, not.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guest wrote:
I'd like to think that what you watch is what you are (i.e. negative/positive priming) as it would make it much easier to identify the problem. Because then you could just "prime" differently and you're good to go. But it's not that simple.

It's true that without an influence to tell you to think critically, you're more than likely to become stupid and, more importantly, gullible. And watching Fox News certainly is detrimental, it's sure giving me a headache, and maybe priming has something to do with it. But if you have that outside influence, you're not going to become stupid watching Fox News. You're not going to become violent playing violent games. And so on. Because it doesn't work like that. The only way that would happen is if they'd watch nothing but Fox News. Nothing but violent video games. Perhaps even that is not conclusive enough to say definitely. Therefore if the study draws the conclusion that watching nothing but these shows is bound to lower your intellect, then I agree. If not, not.

What I'm talking about, unfortunately, is what people are doing almost everyday.
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Mr Gary



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
The worst part is its probably not just limited to stupidity. I'm sure it effects over all personality, like say, a person's views on people's of different races, cultures, or sexes (HELLO misogyny). Check this commentary on video games: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/propaganda-games


Darq: racism, ethnocentrism and misogny are all examples of stupidity.
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