When watching a reality show, what do you think most people get out of it?
Well in the article in Psychology today, Steven Reiss, Ph.D., a professor at Ohio State University (OSU) and James Wiltz is a Ph.D. candidate at OSU, describes that our viewing wants when watching reality TV is because we have a need for status. This could be correct, they do say also that we enjoy watching other people mess-up and going against our moral understanding, which is why Temptation Island is popular. Yet, not only Temptation Island, but MTV's Real World, is full of people that everyone enjoys to watch and criticize the behavior. Then there is Rehab and Intervention, these shows are about people with addictions and treatment, why is that important to show on air, and what would motivate someone to watch this?
Another reason why people watch reality shows is to live viciously through the contestants, to win that prize or fall in love with that person. I find that funny because I started watching the bachelor recently when I lost that feeling of intense love that I use have from my partner and family, since I don't get to see them that often. Also, could that be why many people watch the Biggest Loser, because we aspire to lose that amount of weight? What about watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire, can we see ourselves in the game winning the million?
So do we watch reality TV for status, are we living through these people on the show?
Does their behavior make ourselves feel better for ourselves?
Can we relate to the people on the show?
Are we fulfilling a psychology need or personal need that we wish to have or need?
Is all of this just TV and have nothing to do with interpersonal reasons?
How about the show is structured?
Does the flow of the show create interest, or play to our emotional needs, such as love, fear, and anger?
Is the option to participate in the participants surival on the show important, if so do you feel personally connected with them once they are booted off?
In looking at all of these options, why do you think you watch reality TV show?