Can Reel Life Affect Real Life?



We all love movies. They help us escape into a world totally different from ours and at times, give us a totally new perspective on our lives. Even though it’s a fictitious world, reel life is inspired by real life situations, though, most of the time. Even if we take Science Fiction movies, they are also based on some kind of scientific research or an imagination which may be possible in the near future. So, can television and movies impact and shape our lives? Research studies suggest that they do.

People who believe that TV relationships are realistic are less likely to stay true to their spouse expectations for marriage, which otherwise come from many places such as family life, past relationships, observations of other married couples.

A recent research finds that television may also affect how we feel about marriage and our spouse. Researchers at Albion College, Michigan US, surveyed 392 married individuals, analysing their television-viewing habits, belief in the portrayal of television relationships, expectations for relationships and feelings toward their own marriage. They found that participants who believe that couples on TV are true to life, are less committed in their own marriage: their survey responses indicate they are more likely to cheat and less likely to stay in the marriage.

In addition, these participants measured their relationship “costs” as much higher than those who did not believe that TV portrayals are realistic. Relationship costs include feelings of lost personal time and an increased emphasis on a partner’s unattractive qualities, explains Jeremy Osborn, study author and assistant professor of communications at Albion. This is the first study to assess how attitudes toward television reveal feelings about one’s own marriage, although previous research has suggested that television viewing is related to general perceptions of marriage and romance.

While doing another research, researchers found that college students who frequently watch romantic-themed shows are more likely than other students to believe that their partners should know their innermost feelings and that their wedding day will be the happiest day of their life.

While these kinds of research give hope that it will help couples take a hard look at where they are getting their expectations for their relationship and whether television is reinforcing unreasonable beliefs. The biggest factor contributing to rifts in relationships or even a divorce after marriage is ‘unrealistic expectations‘.

Movies and TV can inspire and also guide the viewer in a rightful direction. Though often our gullible minds are influenced in a negative manner, positive outcomes can also be derived from reel life as all is not lost in the wilderness. Anyone, with an ounce of open mindedness, can establish a connection to the characters in the movies facing similar circumstances, and gain a new outlook or a rush of vigour to confront their problems with a much more positive attitude. Inspirational films serve this purpose well.  Ultimately it’s up to the individual as to what he or she takes out of the movie. One can grasp the positive aspects and try to incorporate in their own lives, at the same time re-examine, if a bad situation matches their own and try to make things better.

So the next time you watch a TV show or a movie, let it be a part of you..well, in a good way.

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