No TV for a year

Back in the early 1970s, a German research group called "The Society for Rational Psychology" challenged 184 people (all regular TV watchers) to go without TV for a year.. with financial incentives to encourage them to stick to the plan.

Briefly all went well, but then things quickly began to go downhill. Frustration grew. The people started to become moody and aggressive. After five months they were all back to watching TV.

The lesson the researchers concluded: "people who watch television regularly are likely to become so addicted they can no longer be happy without it."

What would they conclude about the Internet?

Of course, the study probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt because I can't find any info about this Society for Rational Psychology. Was it some kind of market research group? Nor can I find the write-up from the study itself. Just lots of references to the study in the media.

Buffalo Evening News - May 8, 1972

     Posted By: Alex - Fri May 17, 2024
     Category: Addictions | Television | Psychology | 1970s

Going without TV can be done. My wife and I did it intentionally for 3 plus years while I was in grad school, so I would not be distracted from my studies. (Admission: We probably watched a little while visiting at other folks' homes, but did not watch much.) It was an additional year more after that before we purchased a new TV. Currently, we downsized after many years, and it has been a year and a half and we have not put up our 40 inch TV set. It is amazing how much reading, hobbies, and exercising can get done without the TV to take up your time. (Additional admission: There are some programs I do miss watching.)
Posted by Patrick on 05/17/24 at 01:24 PM
I have quite the opposite experience.

I used to watch TV regularly. I had it on in the background, just to fill the silence. This was years ago, so it was an old-fashioned cathode ray tube. Well, those use electromagnets to direct the beams, and apparently, after a decade or two, something went wrong...

First, the blue started to drift. A bit up, and then it hit the matrix and stopped showing up. I was left with a picture of red, green, yellow and brown. Then, the green started moving. And moving a bit more, until it moved out of reach. By this time, I was watching the speed skating in the Winter Olympics (I'm Dutch, after all) on orange ice. No, literally: the ice in the Olympics showed up orange on my screen! And of course, the red went next, and I wasn't getting an image at all.

So, I turned it off, and thought I should buy a replacement. But I'm a lazy arse, and I left it off for weeks. And months. And found that I didn't miss most television at all! Sure, I missed Strictly, a bit; and I missed some of the better quizzes; and I missed the cooking shows; but the quizzes, the better ones, are on YouTube, and the recipes show up on the internet as well.

So I cancelled my TV contract. And never looked back.

Of course, it does help that I have the internet. Including Weird Universe. You'll never see this on the Boob Tube!
Posted by Richard Bos on 05/18/24 at 01:18 PM
Haven't watched TV (other than in waiting rooms and at clients' houses) since the 1980's.
Posted by ges on 05/19/24 at 05:43 PM

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