I mean, we always knew reality TV wasn’t great for us, but a new study from academics at London School of Economics (LSE) has proven it.
It turns out that television shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians make you a worse person because they cause people to be less sympathetic to the poor.
Glamorous shows like that and Made in Chelsea can have a profound effect on anti-welfare sentiment even after just 60 seconds of exposure.
Author of the study, Dr Rodolfo Leyva, said:
Humans are inherently materialistic but also very social and communal.
The way this is expressed depends on our culture. If there is more emphasis on materialism as a way to be happy, this makes us more inclined to be selfish and anti-social, and therefore unsympathetic to people less fortunate.
This study can contribute to explanations for why the UK public’s support for welfare to aid the impoverished and unemployed has been decreasing during a time of rapidly growing wealth disparities, living costs, and rates of precarious and underemployment.
In the study, 487 adults were shown four adverts for luxury products, four tabloid photos of famous celebrities showing off their extravagant wares, and four newspaper headlines of rags-to-riches stories.
A control group was exposed to neutral images such as adverts about the London Underground, natural scenery, and headlines about dinosaurs.
Both groups were asked a series of questions that measured their attitudes towards wealth and success, government benefits, and impoverished people.
The worrying results showed that even a small amount of exposure to materialistic media had a negative impact on both anti-welfare attitudes and support for anti-welfare policies.
Participants were asked about viewing of nine TV shows including The Apprentice, The X Factor, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and Made in Chelsea.
They were also asked about their reading habits concerning five daily tabloid newspapers that regularly showcase stories on wealthy celebrities, as well as 10 magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, and Esquire.
Dr Levya, whose study was published in the journal Media Psychology, said:
Results suggest that momentary exposure to and regular consumption of materialistic media messages (MMMs) induces stronger materialism and anti-welfare attitudes.
The Apprentice, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and X-Factor are replete with MMMs that are engineered to absorb audiences into the glamorous world of wealth and celebrities and thus have a strong potential to function as cultivators of materialistic values and attitudes.
I don’t think it’s great for the people who appear in reality TV shows either after Grant Coulson (who?) said he was ‘too famous to get a job’.
This guy apparently briefly appeared on Geordie Shore and a dating show, which has now left him unable to get a job be due to his delusion of fame. Oh, and he thought the NHS should pay for a new set of white teeth for him so he can pursue his dreams of presenting.
Presenters Rylan and Sarah were having absolutely none of it and ran a number of vacancies around Newcastle by him – including a job in Foot Locker, bars and even a fish shop so he could pay for his teeth himself.
Rylan then told Grant the show had contacted a bar who could offer him work despite his fame and while he doesn’t seem too enthused about the idea, he made it clear how it’s better than the other options.
I couldn’t work in a f*cking fish shop though.
Naturally, chaos ensued online after these comments from…what’s his name again?
Reality TV ey? Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
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