Can we measure whether binge watching TV shows affects personality?

In motivational psychology last semester, we discussed the difference between talent and skill, exploring the views of Erikson, Baumeister, and Coyle, and learnt about deliberate practice and what that entails. Deliberate practice is when a person partakes in a tedious and repetitive activity in order to build up a particular skill. I would argue that prolonged exposure to anything can affect the way a person acts, even if it’s just for a short period of time.

Over the past few years, Netflix has grown in popularity and demand all over the world. TV shows and movies have become more accessible, and have allowed teens and young adults to binge watch multiple series. I decided to see for myself whether my experiment had merit, and so I picked three TV shows that had a prominent protagonist with very distinctive personality traits. The first series I watched was Bones where the main character is a female forensic anthropologist with a high IQ (regularly refers to herself as a genius), and is straightforward, honest, and highly logical. It took me four weeks to watch ten seasons, and I may have missed one or two episodes in the process, but during those four weeks I began to notice a change in my own personality, and so did my sister. I have never considered myself to be a blunt person, quite the opposite actually: I usually sugar-coat everything. In the second week of watching Bones my sister confronted me about being blunter than usual and how she realized I solve a great deal of my problems rationally rather than emotionally.

My next TV show was The Good Wife, and the main character is a female protagonist who is married to a politician that was accused of paying for sexual interactions. The woman is portrayed as someone extremely moral, loyal, and just genuinely a good person. Unfortunately, I have only just started watching the show, and look forward to any changes in my personality that other people will notice.

To collect this information would prove to be rather difficult, because it is relative to who knows you, how long people have known you, how much a person is emotionally invested into the show, etc. There are a great deal of variables to consider but it could be something worth exploring.

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