Realistic Behaviors on Reality TV

Published: 2021-08-25 13:55:06
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Category: Entertainment

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It is difficult to obtain a set of realistic behaviors out of reality television characters because when they are aware of being followed by cameras and observers, they tend to change their manner in a way that you can no longer get the natural behavior from each character that you would like for research as if they were alone. This opens the gateway for error through self-consciousness of the participant. Depending on what you are studying or observing and the variables of the participant group, which can include race, moral background, religion, and country of origin, some may feel too violated to answer questions or behave ‘normally” due to the pressure of what opinions others may form of them. For example, if you were to gather a group of people and openly ask them a set of questions, their responses may vary and sway to fit a better role for the researchers liking. Consider that, for instance, you ask everyone who brushed their teeth on a given morning to raise their hand. This may seem reasonable to believe a large portion would lie and raise their hand despite the fact they maybe they hadn’t done so because they feel that they would be considered the odd one out for not brushing their teeth. Counter of this, maybe a large portion did actually brush their teeth that morning and there are only approximately 2 or 3 participants that hadn’t. Wouldn’t you hate to be singled out like that in an almost embarrassing manner?
This method of observation can still be used effectively, though. To alleviate this source of response bias, one could simply ask participants one on one questions versus in group studies to avoid the influence of peer pressure. Another way to combat the potential self-consciousness bias that comes into play with this form of behavioral study is to create your questions and settings in a manner that does not disclose an individual, or in other words, is respectable and easier to provide an answer or reaction. Thirdly, one must also always gain consent from participants as a way to feel comfortable and for the observer to know the participants are okay with the setting you have them in. Reality television aims to accurately portray human behaviors; however, they do tend to fall short due to self-report/consciousness bias , peer pressure, and accommodating to the environments in a manner fitting to what the goal is. One way you could achieve more honest portrayals of realistic behavior would be to incorporate hidden cameras because if the characters do not know that they are being filmed, then it would be safe to assume you would have a natural set of behaviors being displayed from the characters. One might also withhold what the information and filming will be used for.
This is known as a single blind study, which occurs ‘when the participants are deliberately kept ignorant of either the group to which they have been assigned or key information about the materials they are assessing” (Salkind 2010). If you decide to film under a blind approach towards the cast, they will not predict what behaviors are to be expected. This would lead to an effective way of maintaining pure behavioral responses and avoiding forced responses. Another approach is to avoid paying any ‘acting” participant, so they could show an unbiased lifestyle because they wouldn’t be gaining anything from lying to the camera. If participants consent to merely being observed without compensation, this will show a significant decrease in the risk of adjusting behaviors to appease the audience. Using the methods previously mentioned to combat influences of others and the situation could potentially help to create an overall greater reliability of a reality show to portray honest behaviors.
Work Cited

Salkind, Neil J. Encyclopedia of Research Design. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2010. SAGE Research Methods. Web. 12 Sep. 2018, doi: 10.4135/9781412961288. 

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