Yes, I do mean "faction" - the sort of fiction which closely mirrors real life and real situations. You might call it "soap" or "drama" but I'm specifically alluding to long-term, low-cost productions such as "Coronation Street' (ITV UK),  "Eastenders" (BBC UK) and "Holby City" (BBC UK).

I don't know of any US shows like this as I'm not an avid watcher - but I assume you have them.

In each of the three examples I've quoted, the main thrust driving the "story" and I use the term loosely as it's not really a story since a story has an end - is personal conflict; lots of it.

In Britain, Holby City and its (big) sister show, Casualty are regularly rounded on for their inaccuracies in portraying medical procedures; despite the use of lifelike bodies, excellent SFX makeup and realistic viscera.
Hardly an episode goes by that some poor soul enters VF and is shocked back to life after four or more attempts - only to recover fully within minutes apparently unscathed.

Yet as any medic will tell you, that's just not true - and even paints a totally inaccurate portrait of current medicine.

OK so far - so what about the big two - "Corra" and "'Enders".

Many people (predominantly women) watch these shows religiously and will often be heard discussing the latest affair (etc.) around the water cooler.

But how realistic are they - and are they influencing people's behavior? Do people fed a steady diet of Eastenders and Coronation Street start to lose touch with "normal" behavior and instead take on the persona of these on-screen creations?
I have seen evidence which seems to support this hypothesis - and after being rounded on by no less than three local (soap) hags last night, I'm particularly interested to know if anyone else has experience this phenomena?

I've been intrigued by this for some years now and have even noticed how people appear to change subtly over time.

In a world were we censor extreme violence because it's unnatural (and people might copy it) should we really allow television to wedge in the idea that screaming at someone (and not listening to their reply) is the way to go?

If I was studying psychology full time (I'm not) this would probably be my doctoral thesis but even so, I'm very interested to know if any of you learned folk have experienced the same thing. Do your less educated friends, family and acquaintances seem more prone to verbal conflict from watching "soap" or is it just the way of the less educated?

Are adults just as likely to copy these behaviors as children? What can be done? Should we do anything?

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Replies to This Discussion

Like alot of things it depends on the person, but I think their influences are limited. Shouty confrontational people are going to be that way anyway in most cases due to their emotional cues. We all mimic things we experience to a greater or lesser degree, for example, I'm a bit of an accent mimic myself and have to watch myself around races with limited senses of humour.
Sadly, the bad behaviour seen in the soaps, tends to represent issues in real life, though real life contains larger gaps between the events on TV. British values are being slowly eroded away due to overly tolerant laws and feeble punishments and too many children are having kids. A parenting course should be mandatory before you are aloud to have children, logic dictates this, but then who ever met a logical human.
Cool surname name by the way!
PS: I did AS Psychology by the way, albeit a while ago.

I'm thinking on the influence of our mirror neurons on the subconscious behavior patterns.

But this does remind me of a Facebook joke I'll be posting later... (about the area where I live).

"Several contestants for the Yummy Mummy competition from the Middlesbrough area where disqualified when the panel discovered they were all under 16."

Sad though it is, I have to agree.

The trouble with CGI is that it's making the impossible seem totally normal - and unlike (for example) Dirty Sanchez, these programmes don't come with a warning to the viewer that the stunts are portrayed by professionals aided by a team of highly experienced graphic artists using state of the art hardware and software.



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