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

  • Fitness Pain The New York Times’ Seven-Minute Workout

    The New York Times’ Seven-Minute Workout

    No, you don’t need exotic machineries; you don’t even need a gym. Here’s what you need: a chair, a wall, and gravity, which is widely available at no cost. Wait, you also need seven minutes. That’s how long it takes, according to New York Times Health columnist Gretchen Reynolds, to stay is shape, but you have to be willing to really put out during those seven minutes. Writing in the Times, Reynolds gives us 12 exercises recommended by Chris Jordan, the […]

    Read more →
  • Eating Well Fitness Pain How To Lose Weight: Stay Cold and Hungry

    How To Lose Weight: Stay Cold and Hungry

    There are some very pleasant ways to keep the weight off–playing tennis or swimming–and then there are two much less pleasant conditions that researchers at Yale believe could do the same thing, by turning white fat (bad) into brown fat (good.) Cold and hunger. Yes, staying cold and hungry could keep us thin. Maybe.  Yale News reports that researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have uncovered a molecular process in the brain known to control eating that transforms white fat into brown […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Computer Brain Games Are For Losers

    Computer Brain Games Are For Losers

    Brain games, the computer based mental challenges that promise to boost the brain power of older adults, are an excellent way to waste time, but they do almost nothing to make us smarter. That’s the opinion of 69 scholars, including many cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists from around the world. A Stanford University news release reports that the scholars, who have jointly issued a statement expressing their skepticism, say that while people who play computer brain games may improve their scores on […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Exercise Pain Predicts Broader Pain Threshold

    Exercise Pain Predicts Broader Pain Threshold

    How much you hurt after exercise is a good predictor of how much you hurt in life, according to research conducted at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, where they know a thing or two about pain. Researchers have known for years that exercise generally helps us tolerate pain. They even have a name for the phenomenon; it’s called “exercise-induced hypoanalgesia” or (EIH), but you knew that. Researchers have also known that some people respond better to the pain-diminishing influence of […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Worried About Ebola Yet?

    Worried About Ebola Yet?

    Are you worried about Ebola yet? At least one out of four American are, according to a new Harris Poll/HealthDay survey. And the most disturbing thing about the poll is that it was taken more than a week ago, before a nurse in Dallas who had treated an Ebola patient became sick, compelling the CDC to rethink the preparedness of U.S. medical workers to deal with the crisis. HealthDay reports that the online poll of more than 2,000 adults, taken between Oct. […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Repeat Knee Injuries:  What Are The Odds?

    Repeat Knee Injuries: What Are The Odds?

    Ever wonder what the odds are that you’ll re-injure a knee after an ACL repair? Now we know, and the answer is: it depends how old you are.  If you’re in high school, and if you are reading this you are probably not in high school, you’ve got a 17 percent chance of re-injury. That sounds scary until you read the full report from researchers at the University of North Carolina, which claims a 20 percent chance of injury on […]

    Read more →
  • Uncategorized Lifting Weights Improves Your Memory

    Lifting Weights Improves Your Memory

    Can’t remember how many reps you should do of squat thrusts? Do a few more reps and it might come back to you. Slowly. Researchers at Georgia Tech are persuaded that an intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory, also known as long-term memory for previous events, by about 10 percent. A Georgia Tech news release admits that the school isn’t the first to find that exercise can improve memory, but their study, which was […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Knee Pain? Forget About Acupuncture

    Knee Pain? Forget About Acupuncture

    Got a knee that won’t stop giving you pain? Don’t waste your time with acupuncture. According to researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia, the therapy does little for knee pain in the short term and it does nothing in the long term. Science Daily reports that the researchers treated 300 adults with chronic knee pain either with needle acupuncture, laser acupuncture (hitting acupuncture spots with a low-intensity laser beam), sham laser acupuncture, or no treatment at all (the […]

    Read more →