TV Reruns Make Us Better People

September 7, 2012 8:46 am 1 comment

Say that again? Or perhaps just watch it again. Researchers at the University of Buffalo are convinced that watching reruns of our favorite TV shows could make us better people, at least in the short run, by boosting our willpower and making us more willing to sacrifice for others. A University of Buffalo news release reports that researchers at the school asked half of the subjects in a research group to complete a structured task that required concentrated effort, while the other half was asked to complete a similar but less structured task that allowed them more freedom and required much less effort. Next, half of the participants were asked to write about their favorite television show while the other half listed items in their room. The researchers found that those who wrote about their favorite television show (rather than listing items in their room) wrote for longer if they had done the structured task than if they had done the less-structured task, –evidence, the researchers say, that those people were seeking out their favorite TV shows and they wanted to spend more time thinking about them. They also found that writing about their favorite television show restored energy levels and allowed people to perform better on a difficult puzzle. Wait, there’s more: in the second study, participants kept a diary, reporting on their difficult tasks, media consumption and energy levels each day. If they had to do difficult tasks, they were more likely to seek out a re-run of their favorite television show, to re-watch a favorite movie or to re-read a favorite book. If they did watch a rerun, their energy levels were restored. How does that work?  The researchers believe there’s something special and comfortable about a “relationship” in which you already know what the other person is going to say and do, and all you have to do is sit there and enjoy it. They also found that after thinking about a favorite television show, people are more willing to forgive others, more willing to help a stranger and more willing to sacrifice for their romantic partner. Read more from the University of Buffalo. Read an abstract of the study here.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

  • Pain Women's Health Common Drugs Linked to Dementia

    Common Drugs Linked to Dementia

    No, not marijuana. The researchers at the University of Washington were looking at drugs like Benadryl, anti-depressants like Sinequan, anti-histamines like Chlor-Trimeton, and antimuscarinics for bladder control like Ditropan.  A university news release reports that the scientists, who tracked nearly 3,500 Group Health seniors participating in a long-running joint Group Health-UW study funded by the National Institute on Aging, found that such drugs, with anticholinergic effects, significantly increased risk for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in people who took them for longer […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Uncategorized Women's Health Research Suggests That Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

    Research Suggests That Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

    Can exercise really help to ward off breast cancer? Researchers at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque think so. The Wall Street Journal, reports that scientists at the school have been studying the cancer fighting effects of irisin, a hormone that is released from muscles after vigorous exercise. When the researchers tested genetically engineered irisin on aggressive breast-cancer cells and on nonmalignant breast cells, they found that irisin treatment reduced the number of malignant cells by 34 percent compared with untreated cells, […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Fitness Gear The Beet Juice Conundrum: Does It Boost Blood Flow?

    The Beet Juice Conundrum: Does It Boost Blood Flow?

    For years, athletes have been drinking beet juice before working out to increase blood flow to muscles and boost performance. Now comes a study from researchers at Penn State suggesting that the beet juice strategy was all for naught. A Penn State news release reports that while beetroot juice is in fact rich in nitrates, it did not enhance muscle blood flow or vascular dilation during exercise. The good news, although not necessarily for athletes, is that the researchers found that […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Gear Sitting Is The New Smoking

    Sitting Is The New Smoking

    Yes, it’s yet another study on the health risks of too much sitting, which is now described, in some circles, as the new smoking. This study, a meta-analysis of others, comes from scientists at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and like others, identifies a definite relationship between the amount of time a person sits everyday and heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and death. Wait, there’s more unsurprising news.  Science Daily reports that study found that the […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Fitness Gear Get Up. Stand Up. Stand Up For Your Health

    Get Up. Stand Up. Stand Up For Your Health

    If sitting is the new smoking, is standing the healthful alternative? The Boston Globe reports that many experts think it is. The Globe cites a recent Harvard study of more than 92,000 women that found that the more time participants spent sitting at work, driving, or watching TV, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or strokes. Wait, there’s more, such as a Canadian study involving 17,000 people that found that those who reported the most time […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Fitness Pain Want To Build Muscle? Think About It

    Want To Build Muscle? Think About It

    Can just thinking about building muscle actually build muscle? Researchers at Ohio University’s Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute think so. HealthDay reports that scientists at the institute put 29 people in casts that completely immobilized their hand and wrist for four weeks. Fourteen of those people were told to routinely perform an imagery exercise, imagining that they were intensely contracting their wrist for five seconds with five seconds of rest. Wait, there’s more: As they performed this imagery exercise, they were […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Staying Warm Really Can Ward Off A Cold

    Staying Warm Really Can Ward Off A Cold

    Some wives’ tales turn out to be true. Maybe. A Yale University news release reports that researchers at the school are convinced that the common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside the nose than at core body temperature, suggesting that there is truth to the popular notion that people are more likely to catch a cold in cool-weather conditions. The researchers examined cells taken from the airways of mice, and compared the immune response to […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain The Most Common Cause Of Cancer: Bad Luck

    The Most Common Cause Of Cancer: Bad Luck

    Are you worried that what you eat, where you live, or your own genes might increase your chances of getting cancer? Well, those factors might contribute to cancer, but according to a recent study at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, the most likely culprit is bad luck. A Johns Hopkins news release reports that scientists at the center created a statistical model that measures the proportion of cancer incidence, across many tissue types, caused by random mutations that occur when […]

    Read more →