Amir Hetsroni, Ph.D., sees firsthand how TV shows fill gaps in our personal experience. He does research and teaches classes on communication. At the beginning of a term he will often quiz his new students.
“I ask, ‘How many of you have ever been in an operating room, not as an anesthetized patient?’ In a class of thirty or forty students maybe one raises his or her hand, usually not even one. And then I ask the following question, ‘How many of you think you can describe to me what an operating room looks like?’ All of a sudden half of the students are able to describe it, sometimes more than half. How do they know about it? They’ve never been there. It’s from television. It’s unconscious. They don’t even know that’s where they’re getting the information.”