Signs of Intelligence: Live from the Tube

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Does watching television make you smarter? Do the new shows require the same focus, imagination, and retention as reading a book? Steven Johnson thinks so, author of Watching TV Makes You Smarter. The simplicity of television has come and gone, replaced with mind exercising network shows. Shows of today contain numerous, difficult plots with multiple characters; interesting topics and high profit yields. Steven Johnson believes that all of these things have created a new kind of television, one that may make you more intelligent, however, there are exceptions to this such as reality and junk television. In Stevens Johnson’s article about new television making you smarter he gives arguments such as multiple plots, series of ending and newly beginning information and endless characters. He believes that multiple plots require the viewer to pay deeper attention, he uses the show 24 as an example by saying, “to keep up with entertainment like 24, you have to pay attention, make inferences, track shifting social relationships.” Johnson mentions that shows of the past have fewer, less detailed plot lines that contain very few characters, usually three to four, which make the shows these shows today, seem boring and not much for the mind to keep up with. Today, however, a drama on primetime has multiple stories in one episode, one mystery ending and ten more beginning. Thus causing you to have to engage yourself in what’s going on to keep up with the story, and sometimes even use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Johnson argues that these modern shows and their complex stories are indeed making us smarter. Johnson makes some very interesting points in his article. He makes his stance very clear, and is very well orga... ... middle of paper ... ...ke people enjoy them so much, they entertain because you unknowingly become involved in it. You engage your mind and think. Johnson hit the nail on the head with this argument. The shows and networks of today with no doubt are much different and much more entertaining than those of the 70’s. With the audience expecting more, networks continue to push the boundaries of television, and along with it, the level of intellect required to enjoy it. Steven Johnson believes that all of these things have created a new kind of television, one that may make you more intelligent, however, there are exceptions to this such as reality and junk television. Steven Johnson has made a well thought out and valid argument that TV makes you smarter. It is proven with many shows relying on witty humor and tough to follow stories that engage your mind, and hopefully, make you smarter.

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