Whether you fancy yourself a jet-setting sophisticate or a down-to-earth outdoorsy type, a fast-track corporate star or an all-around nice guy, new research indicates that you probably tune out information that challenges your self-image by tuning in to television.
The findings, by Sophia Moskalenko of the University of Pennsylvania and Steven Heine of the University of British Columbia, are presented in a paper published in the January issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
"We each have ways in which we like to perceive ourselves," said Moskalenko, a doctoral student in psychology at Penn. "In many cases self-image is carefully constructed and zealously guarded, and its difficult to experience a conflict between who we are and who we would like to be. Television appears to be an effective means of reducing awareness of how we are falling short of our own standards."
In a study of undergraduates viewing habits after receiving either positive or negative results on an intelligence test, subjects who received poor scores watched television longer and waited longer before averting their eyes from the screen. Those who fared well on the test watched for only 2.46 out of a possible 6 minutes, first looking away after 11 seconds, while those who did badly watched for 4.03 minutes and did not avert their gaze for 72 seconds.
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
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