The Article ' Modeling Meanness : Associations Between Reality Television Consumption, Perceived Realism, And Adolescents ' Social

The Article ' Modeling Meanness : Associations Between Reality Television Consumption, Perceived Realism, And Adolescents ' Social

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The article "Modeling Meanness: Associations Between Reality TV Consumption, Perceived Realism, and Adolescents ' Social Aggression" by Ward and Carlson, this article analyzes data from a study done in Michigan on “whether regular exposure to reality television is related to social aggression among adolescents” (383). Using this data, the authors hope to uncover one of the issues in reality television and inspire further research in this subject.
Ward and Carlson hypothesize three main ideas: mainstream media consumption creates greater social aggression, watching reality programming produces higher social aggression than other media, and individuals who associate a larger perceived realism with reality TV will have stronger social aggressiveness. The data collected was from 174 high school students with ages ranging from 14-18 years old, from “well-educated families” (377). The appropriate information regarding the “amount of media use”, “exposure to selected reality programs”, “social aggression”, and “perceived realism” (377-378) were all measured my means of surveys. In the surveys questions like “[h]ow frequently does social aggression appear in each program” (378), were asked to make sure the content received was well thought.
Ward and Carlson answered the first part of their hypothesis through a series of correlations between general media use and social aggression, the results proved that every form of media is associated with social aggression. In addition, they could answer the next part of their hypothesis through correlations involving reality TV use and social aggression, they concluded that viewing reality TV does in fact link to “higher levels of social aggression” (381). For the last part of their hypothesis ...


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...also be a problem. Personally, when reflecting on watching reality television I noticed that I am constantly comparing. In a situation where I am watching a reality weight loss show, I find myself getting satisfaction from seeing the difference in size of myself compared to one of the participants. Rebecca Bourn et al. confirms this happens as her study shows “smaller participants reported greater positive mood” when watching the weight loss show compared to the controlled condition. This is most likely caused because participants were happy with their appearance in that moment as they looked down upon the contestants and decided their own appearance holds more value. Morally I believe it is wrong to have the state of mind where you devalue someone, and consider them worse, and therefore another reason why reality television is negatively impacting the human brain.

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