Watching Dumb TV Shows Might Make You Dumb, Study Finds

by | June 21, 2011 at 1:15 PM | TV News

Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi and Paul 'Pauly D' DelVecchio of 'Jersey Shore'  (Photo: Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi and Paul 'Pauly D' DelVecchio of 'Jersey Shore' (Photo: Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)


For those of you who get a kick out of hearing “Jersey Shore’s” Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino drunkenly describe unattractive chicks as “grenades,” “landmines,” or some kind of animal at the zoo OR “Real Housewives of New Jersey’s” Teresa Giudice botch the English language with words like “sangwich” and “ingredientses”—BEWARE! Your mindless boob tube escapism might be zapping your brain cells and taking you to a level of stupid you’ve never dreamed of! Oh, the fragility of humanity!

And like, we’re serious. According to a recent post on MSNBC, a research study found that what “we watch or listen to or read influence our emotions and our behavior, perhaps more than we realize.”

The theory, which is called media priming, was put to the test using fictional characters in a story. Eighty one volunteers were separated into various groups, with one main experimental group reading a story about a “foolish soccer hooligan” who commits a lot of brainless nonsense, while the control group read a boring version of the narrative in which the same character does nothing idiotic. After the groups read the stories, they were given a multiple-choice test on their general knowledge skills.

The results in a nutshell: Those who read the dumb story did worse on the knowledge test than those who didn’t.

“What you’ve been thinking about recently or seeing recently (is) at a higher level in your consciousness, so your brain is kind of predisposed in that direction,” says Joanne Cantor, a psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association who’s an expert on how TV and movies affect our emotions and behavior. “So if you’ve just seen a movie about really altruistic people and you get an opportunity to behave altruistically, you’ll probably do it, rather than if you’ve just seen a movie about selfish people.”

Guess you GTLers, “Real Housewives” and especially yous “Mob Wives” fans better read some James Joyce and meditate in your spare time.

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