Riddle, K., & De Simone, J. J. (2013, August 26). “A Snooki Effect? An Exploration of the Surveillance Subgenre of Reality TV and Viewers’ Beliefs About the ‘Real’ Real World.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/ppm0000005
Taking a cultivation approach, this study uses content analyses, entertainment journalists, and critical theorists to make the case that patterns of content appear in “surveillance” reality TV programs. Survey data collected from 145 young adults reveal that beliefs about the real world often match these content patterns. Heavy viewers of surveillance programs were more likely to think females in the real world engage in inappropriate behaviors (e.g., arguing, gossip) more than males. Exposure to surveillance programs also positively predicted beliefs about the prevalence of relationship discord in the real world. Implications for cultivation research, reality TV, and accessibility are discussed.