He said it's not possible to tell whether the programs somehow contribute to cognitive decline or whether women in the early stages of decline gravitate toward those shows. Preferences for daytime TV could also be a marker of a sedentary, homebound lifestyle, and research suggests that staying physically and socially active can help stave off mental decline....It's an interesting study, focusing on cognitive decline in older women. I would like to know which way the causality works. Fogel seems to lean toward thinking that people experiencing mental decline gravitate toward shows that provide "parasocial relationships," rather than to think that the shows cause the mental decline. Researchers have tried for years to prove the TV is bad for you, and they never seem to come up with anything substantial.
According to Fogel, a potential explanation rests in the fact that talk shows and soap operas involve so-called "parasocial relationships," where viewers feel a connection to a show's characters or host. Such shows may, for instance, be better able to hold the attention of older women with some cognitive impairment.
"This doesn't mean 'Oprah' is bad for you," Fogel said. However, an older woman's fondness for the show could signal a possible problem, according to the researcher.
Anyway, I'm fascinated by this subject of parasocial relationships. They are quite rampant in our modern world, for all of us, not just old women, don't you think? What are your parasocial relationships? Have they changed over the years? At what point do you think a person has has a parasocial relationship problem? In the future, will there be specialists helping us with our parasocial relationship problems? Will the day come when we will turn on Oprah for a little parasocializing and find the guest is the Dr. Phil of pararelationships?