Title

Viewer Aggression and Attraction to Television Talk Shows

Publication Title

Media Psychology

Publication Date

2003

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1207/S1532785XMEP0504_02

Keywords

viewer aggression, viewer attraction, television talk shows

Disciplines

Communication | Psychology

Abstract

Guided by the uses and gratifications perspective, we examined how dispositional factors--aggression, anger, attitudes toward women, and communication anxiety and reward--and television-viewing factors--motivation, attitudes, topics, emotions, and parasocial interaction--explained attraction to different TV talk shows. We considered how these dispositional and viewing factors discriminated among different talk show preferences and different levels of aggression. Compared with The Oprah Winfrey Show viewers, Jerry Springer viewers thought shows were less realistic; enjoyed watching voyeuristic topics and guests' being angry, embarrassed, shocked, and hurt; watched to be entertained and excited rather than to be informed; and developed fewer parasocial relationships. Compared with persons with low levels of aggression, those with high levels of aggression were angry; had negative attitudes toward women; enjoyed watching guests' being embarrassed, angry, shocked, and hurt; thought others did not value their interpersonal interactions; and watched talk shows more often, especially to interact with others. We discuss the implications of these findings.

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