The Null Device

An interesting article about the physiological effects of television. In short, TV can be physiologically addictive, acting as a depressant, and the edits used in TV programmes, and particularly ads, induce a Pavlovian "orienting response", which grabs the viewer's attention involuntarily, and causing physical tiredness in the viewer by overworking this response. Also, families who become dependent on TV as a primary recreational activity find it difficult to cope with TV deprivation:
Nearly 40 years ago Gary A. Steiner of the University of Chicago collected fascinating individual accounts of families whose set had broken--this back in the days when households generally had only one set: "The family walked around like a chicken without a head." "It was terrible. We did nothing--my husband and I talked." "Screamed constantly. Children bothered me, and my nerves were on edge. Tried to interest them in games, but impossible. TV is part of them."

In short, withdrawal symptoms. However, the good news is that only heavy users become addicted, and they actually enjoy TV less than those who watch it occasionally or in moderation. (via those liberal elitists at Plastic)

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