Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Alan Hartley

Reader 2

Judith LeMaster

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© 2014 Laura Rossiter

Abstract

The current study aims to fill a deficiency in the literature on the effects of watching television, particularly “happy” and “not happy” shows, on social needs. Participants will first take a survey to report their loneliness and need for social interaction. Then, they will be randomly assigned into one of four television-viewing conditions (two involving the participants watching “happy” shows and two involving participants watching “not happy” shows). After viewing three episodes, participants will be re-tested on their loneliness and need for social interaction. It is hypothesized that after watching television, participants will report feeling less lonely and less likely to seek out social interaction with a larger effect for those watching happier shows than those watching less happy shows. If the study shows a reduction in loneliness and desire for social interaction after watching television, it could suggest that television is an outlet to offer those who are lonely or lacking in social support and can ease some of their discomfort and sadness.

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