TV makes you smarter

Topics: Television, Sociology, Popular culture Pages: 3 (654 words) Published: December 12, 2014


Watching TV Makes You Smarter

Steven Johnson’s argument in “Watching TV Makes you Smarter” that television increases intellectual and enhances our cognitive faculties, therefore making us smarter Johnson’s states that, “For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common- denominator standards, presumably because the “masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But as that 24 episode suggests, the exact opposite is happening: culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less” (278). This growing complexity involves three primary elements: multiple threading, flashing arrows, and social networks (280). One element the Jonson reports as his primary elements is “multiple threading” as the most celebrated structural feature of modern television drama” (289). Johnson states that multiple threads “multiply plots where the episode will also display a chordal mode of storytelling” where some shows will often connect to three different threads at the same time, layering one plot atop another (283). These multiple threads is what makes people to be engage in the show and stimulate their brain, which is nourishing. Johnson uses this element “flashing arrow” as a metaphorical audiovisual cue and with this Johnson explains how, “popular entertainment that addresses technical issues – whether they are the intricacies of passing legislation , or of performing a heart bypass, or of operating a particle accelerator – conventionally switches between two modes of information in dialogue: texture and substance” (286). Another element that he reports “social network” explaining how, “when we watch these shows, the part of our brain that monitors the emotional lives of the people around us – the part that tracks subtle shifts information and gesture and facial expressions – scrutinizes the action on the screen, looking for clues” (291). If the...
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