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Monday, April 27, 2009

TV "Friends" Can Make You Feel Less Lonely

Watching a favorite TV show—and forming illusory relationships with the characters in it—can give us a sense of belonging, according to psychologists at the University at Buffalo and Miami University in Ohio. They found evidence of what's called the "social surrogacy hypothesis," the idea that we can use technology—like TV, music, and video games—to "provide the experience of belonging when no real belongingness has been experienced," explains Shira Gabriel, a UB professor of psychology who worked on the study.
The findings show that we tend to tune in to our favorite TV shows when we feel lonely, and we feel less lonely when we watch these shows. But the effect occurs only with programs we really immerse ourselves in and follow week after week, getting to know and care about the characters. Thinking about these programs protects us from drops in self-esteem, bad moods, and feelings of rejection.
"Turning one's back on family and friends for the solace of television may be maladaptive and leave a person with fewer resources over time," says UB psychologist Jaye Derrick, who also worked on the study, "but for those who have difficulty experiencing social interaction because of physical or environmental constraints, technologically induced belongingness may offer comfort." —Heather Wax


Anonymous said...

Yes tv Friends make less lonely.If i am watching my favorite show i never feel lonely and Friends Tv Show is one of my favorite.I have never missed a single episode of the show.