TV & Imitative Behavior
Information taken from AACC website

As if any more research were needed to prove the profound effect that TV has on influencing the behavior of its watchers, a fascinating study from the Fiji Islands, reported in a recent issue of Discover magazine, deserves our consideration. Harvard anthropologist and physician Dr. Anne Becker noted that four-fifths of Fijian women are overweight by American standards, but it has never been a problem on Fiji. Big women, in fact, are the glory of Fiji Islanders, who traditionally worry more about being too thin than being too fat.

However, TV was introduced there five years ago by satellite, and a steady diet of American shows has become common fare (with "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills 90210" becoming favorites). The constant images of thin actresses have reverberated darkly throughout Fijian society. Becker found a steep rise in abnormal female attitudes about eating and never-before-known self-perceptions of being fat and unattractive. Worse still, bulimic behavior,self-induced vomiting to control weight,increased fivefold among Fijian girls.

Detractors on the influence of TV point out that many sociocultural variables influence behavior. Therefore, it is hard to isolate and blame TV as a primary cause. The Fiji Island study is as close to a controlled naturalistic study as one might get, and the evidence from this study is powerful: TV is very, very influential in shaping human attitudes and behavior.

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