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Please read the post and then give feedback to the person of what you thought about their post.

Post 1

This week we were asked to describe a theory that best gives insight on Americas love affair with reality television shows. It is a phenomenon that is not generation specific or even gender or age based. This country seems to really love watching the lives of other people. I think the psychological theory that best describes this phenomenon would be the psychoanalytical idea the id in conjunction with Albert Bandura's Social - Cognitive Learning Theory. The three parts, in particular, for this discussion are, observational learning, outcome expectancy and self regulation.

The id contains the basic psychic energy and motivations, often termed instincts or impulses. (Friedman 64) The id's main motivation is the pleasure principle, meaning that it does what it feels is best for the individual to reduce stress and satisfy itself. This basically means that if a person observes others having care free fun or acting as though all is right with the world it is going to want it as well, regardless of the consequences. This is what makes reality tv so exciting. For the most part, everyone in the show gets what they want with a happy ending.

Observational learning, or modeling, is "learning by an individual that occurs by watching others perform the behavior, with the individual neither performing the behavior nor being directly rewarded or punished for the behavior." (Friedman 236) I believe this is a good example of pop culture based off of reality tv. We binge watch the episodes and somehow learn the behavior of these people and adopt it as our own. Enough people watch and then it becomes a norm. Trend setting then becomes a very real thing with these shows. One of the biggest examples is from Jersey Shore. As a nation, millions of watchers learned new lingo and social norms. For example, if I were to say "GTL" my wife would know I mean Gym, Tan and Laundry and of course you can not forget the number one dance move "The Fist Bump". Coast to coast we were copying these people as though we were right there with them. We had not grown up with them but we now partied and talked just like them.

Outcome expectancy is another important part of the reality watching drive. Through all the shows we partake in, we generally only adapt to what we perceive as good/positive behavior. This can be anything from the right ways to train your dog with Cesar Milan or maybe clothing choices after an episode of What Not to Wear." Keeping with the Jersey Shore, this is more likely that if we drink the right drinks say the right words or even go to the right places we will have fun like they do.

Finally, our id is controlled with self regulation. This is "monitoring one's own behavior as a result of one's internal processes of goals, planning, and self-reinforcement." (Friedman 240) Basically, if we do not get the desired outcome or reaction with our new modeled behavior we will, again, turn our behavior to get the desired outcome.

Post 2

This week we were asked to describe a theory that best gives insight on Americas love affair with reality television shows. It is a phenomenon that is not generation specific or even gender or age based. This country seems to really love watching the lives of other people. I think the psychological theory that best describes this phenomenon would be the psychoanalytical idea the id in conjunction with Albert Bandura's Social - Cognitive Learning Theory. The three parts, in particular, for this discussion are, observational learning, outcome expectancy and self regulation.

The id contains the basic psychic energy and motivations, often termed instincts or impulses. (Friedman 64) The id's main motivation is the pleasure principle, meaning that it does what it feels is best for the individual to reduce stress and satisfy itself. This basically means that if a person observes others having care free fun or acting as though all is right with the world it is going to want it as well, regardless of the consequences. This is what makes reality tv so exciting. For the most part, everyone in the show gets what they want with a happy ending.

Observational learning, or modeling, is "learning by an individual that occurs by watching others perform the behavior, with the individual neither performing the behavior nor being directly rewarded or punished for the behavior." (Friedman 236) I believe this is a good example of pop culture based off of reality tv. We binge watch the episodes and somehow learn the behavior of these people and adopt it as our own. Enough people watch and then it becomes a norm. Trend setting then becomes a very real thing with these shows. One of the biggest examples is from Jersey Shore. As a nation, millions of watchers learned new lingo and social norms. For example, if I were to say "GTL" my wife would know I mean Gym, Tan and Laundry and of course you can not forget the number one dance move "The Fist Bump". Coast to coast we were copying these people as though we were right there with them. We had not grown up with them but we now partied and talked just like them.

Outcome expectancy is another important part of the reality watching drive. Through all the shows we partake in, we generally only adapt to what we perceive as good/positive behavior. This can be anything from the right ways to train your dog with Cesar Milan or maybe clothing choices after an episode of What Not to Wear." Keeping with the Jersey Shore, this is more likely that if we drink the right drinks say the right words or even go to the right places we will have fun like they do.

Finally, our id is controlled with self regulation. This is "monitoring one's own behavior as a result of one's internal processes of goals, planning, and self-reinforcement." (Friedman 240) Basically, if we do not get the desired outcome or reaction with our new modeled behavior we will, again, turn our behavior to get the desired outcome.

Post 3

There is no doubt that there has been a rise in the number of individuals who watch reality shows in the last two decades. Reality television has become so popular in America that most networks promote at least one show that can be classified as a reality show. Although many Americans admit that these are not quality shows, they still are unable to change the channel. Could there be a biological reason for our obsession with watching other individuals reality? The personality theory of the effect of mirror neurons explains the need to observe other's and why watching is so interesting.

Mirror neurons are "multimodal association neurons that increase their activity during the execution of certain actions and while hearing or seeing corresponding actions being performed by others" (Keysers, 2009). These neurons react the same way when an individual acts and when an individual observes another acting in the same manner (Iacoboni, 2009; Rizzolatti & Craighero, 2004). For instance, if an individual witnesses another reaching back to throw a punch, the individual's own brain cells fire as if he or she is the one who is about to throw the punch (Borroni & Baldissera, 2008; Keysers & Fadiga, 2008).

Studies have shown that brain areas thought to contain mirror neurons, such as dorsal premotor, supplementary motor, the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, the posterior middle temporal gyrus and parts of the cerebellum, are "contributing" to an individual's perception of the actions of others (Keysers, 2009). In addition to adding to perception, these mirror neurons have the potential to generate new mirror neurons. "Hebbian learning suggests that performing an action while seeing and hearing oneself perform it should be enough for neurons involved in performance to start responding to the sight and sound of the same action" (Keysers, 2009). This phenomenon can be seen in an individual's premotor cortex responding to piano music after a mere five hours of practicing piano.

So what does this mean for reality shows? When an individual watches a contestant get voted off of Survivor or American Idol, they experience feelings of empathy and associate with the individual they are watching on a direct level (Friedman, 2010). When applying what scientists know about mirror neurons to social situations there is direct link with an individual's empathy and emotions. Individuals who are more sensitive to social situations show a difference in mirror neuron activity than those individuals who are more independent when considering social cues evoking empathy (Kaplan & Iacoboni, 2006). This suggests that individuals who enjoy watching reality shows may be individuals who show differences in their brain areas associated with emotion.

Many experiments suggest that "brain regions involved in the experience of emotions and sensations become reactivated while we view the emotions and sensations of others" (Keysers, 2009). The activation of mirror neurons explains why people feel like they can become UFC fighters after watching the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. While they may not be the ones in the octagon, their brains are experiencing the same emotions and reactions as the fighters they are watching on television thanks to mirror neurons.

Reference no: EM131349723

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