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In “Watching TV Makes You Smarter,” Johnson argues that through the concept of the “Sleeper Curve,” current TV shows are better in quality and produce positive thinking outcomes for their audiences. Based on this curve, throughout time, the median cognitive demands of…
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Download file to see previous pages Some shows can make people smarter because of their sophisticated plots and moral dilemmas. Like Johnson, I appreciate the fast-paced plots and realistic characters of 24. I know that Jack Bauer makes hard decisions, as he uses violence and deception to accomplish his goal of saving thousands of civilians. These kinds of TV shows compel people to think about multilayered meanings of intentions and interests that are present in everyday realities, and which can be more complex as people go up the levels of social and political institutions. Instead of predicting shows because of their repetitive formula plots, people cannot always determine what will happen next and they are strained to think more, so that they can understand the plot and characters.
On the contrary, I do not agree that all TV shows follow the Sleeper Curve, if the audiences do not have critical and inference skills to start with. I do not believe that parents should allow children to watch shows that have high content of sex and violence. They do not have enough critical thinking skills to know what is right or wrong, and what is real and made-up. It is like a neighbor who likes 24 for its action content, but is not interested in making inferences about the plot and the people. Instead, I hear him saying that Muslims are mainly terrorists and that many immigrants are criminals. He does not have the skills to attain the Sleeper Curve as Johnson describes it. Instead of thinking better, he feeds on the stereotypes that the show presents.
The Sleeper Curve is not true for all. It only applies to people who have critical thinking and logic skills. Present-day TV shows might be smarter, but unless people have developed their cognitive skills, they are not better off watching them. Sometimes, they are even worse off, if they use it to reinforce their prejudice ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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