Can watching TV make you amoral?

More frightening reasons why screens are taking over our personalities.
Post Reply
Dry Lips
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:47 am

Can watching TV make you amoral?

Post by Dry Lips » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:18 pm

In my post about multitasking I referred to this article: ... 180703.htm
I think this study is so important that it deserves a post of its own.

Rapid-fire Media May Confuse Your Moral Compass, Study Suggests.

"Emotions linked to our moral sense awaken slowly in the mind, according to a new study from a neuroscience group led by corresponding author Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC College.

The finding, contained in one of the first brain studies of inspirational emotions in a field dominated by a focus on fear and pain, suggests that digital media culture may be better suited to some mental processes than others.
[…] Humans can sort information very quickly and can respond in fractions of seconds to signs of physical pain in others. Admiration and compassion - two of the social emotions that define humanity - take much longer, Damasio’s group found. […] Brain imaging showed that the volunteers needed six to eight seconds to fully respond to stories of virtue or social pain.
[…] The study raises questions about the emotional cost -- particularly for the developing brain -- of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks. “If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,” Immordino-Yang said.
[…] But fast-paced digital media tools may direct some heavy users away from traditional avenues for learning about humanity, such as engagement with literature or face-to-face social interactions. Immordino-Yang did not blame digital media. “It’s not about what tools you have, it’s about how you use those tools,” she said. Castells said he was less concerned about online social spaces, some of which can provide opportunities for reflection, than about “fast-moving television or virtual games.”
“In a media culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, be it in fiction or in infotainment, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in,” he said. Damasio agreed: “What I’m more worried about is what is happening in the (abrupt) juxtapositions that you find, for example, in the news. “When it comes to emotion, because these systems are inherently slow, perhaps all we can say is, not so fast.” "

Post Reply