At Rutgers University, professors of psychology found correlations between interest in plastic surgery and viewing of “surgical
makeover” reality TV shows. According to results of their research, people who watch these reality shows are more likely to be interested in changing their appearance through cosmetic surgery.
In one study, the authors surveyed 170 participants and found that those who favored reality television shows about cosmetic surgery were more likely to show interest in pursuing their own procedure. In a second study, 189 participants were split into two groups, with one viewing a television program about a surgical makeover, while the other half was exposed to a neutral message. Participants viewing the surgical makeover program indicated greater interest in cosmetic surgery than the participants exposed to the neutral message.
Several networks have introduced programs with a significant focus on cosmetic surgery, especially on programs such as Real Housewives of Orange County, Extreme Makeover, The Doctors or The Biggest Loser. But are these programs necessarily giving us a realistic picture of cosmetic surgery? If viewers are as impressionable as the study indicates, there's surely a need to keep these programs more about reality and less about sensationalism.
Read the study mentioned here, “A correlational and experimental examination of reality television viewing and interest in cosmetic surgery” on PubMed.
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