Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Influence of TV Medical Shows Adds Up

The influence of fictional TV shows is a drip, drip, drip effect.
“It’s not a conscious process, where you become frightened because you say, ‘In ER they didn’t manage to save that person’s life, so that will also happen to me.’ Instead, it’s totally unconscious. But there are studies which clearly document this process, which we call ‘cultivation.’... In other words, you think that the way life is portrayed on television is equal to your surrounding life.” - communications researcher Amir Hetsroni, PhD.
He says the effect is small. For most people, most of the time, it may not make a measureable difference in attitudes or beliefs about the risks of going to the hospital. But Hetsroni notes that even if very few viewers change their health care decisions because of the effect of TV shows, it all adds up. There are more than 300 million people in the United States, almost all watching TV at least sometimes. So even if more than ninety-nine out of a hundred aren’t affected, the number who are could still reach into the millions.

Read the full discussion in “House, M.D. vs. Reality

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