tvSmarter

www.tvSmarter.com – Life in a TV Nation

22 thoughts on “Feedback

  1. Would a video filter that changed “cuts” to fadeout / fade-in help reduce the problem with TV? We now have the technology to make such a filter.

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  2. Hi Martyn

    “Would a video filter that changed “cuts” to fadeout / fade-in
    help reduce the problem with TV?”

    That’s an interesting question. Perhaps it would help…

    According to the Scientific American article “Television Addiction
    Is No Mere Metaphor”:

    “Lang and her colleagues have also investigated whether
    formal features affect people’s memory of what they have
    seen. In one of their studies, participants watched a
    program and then filled out a score sheet. Increasing
    the frequency of edits–defined here as a change from
    one camera angle to another in the same visual scene–improved
    memory recognition, presumably because it focused attention
    on the screen. Increasing the frequency of cuts–changes
    to a new visual scene–had a similar effect but only up
    to a point. If the number of cuts exceeded 10 in two
    minutes, recognition dropped off sharply.”

    Regarding brain effects, the big problem with TV is when
    the cuts exceed 10 cuts in 2 minutes.

    10 cuts in 2 minutes works out to an average of a cut
    every 12 seconds (120 seconds / 10). Next time you
    watch a TV show, count how many seconds there are
    between cuts. You’ll notice that most shows exceed
    10 cuts in 2 minutes. In fact it is hard to find a
    TV show or movies that does not exceed 10 cuts in
    2 minutes. A cut every 3 to 6 seconds is much more
    common.

    So, would “fadeout/fade-in help reduce the problem
    with TV?”

    I think the fact that a fadeout/fade-in is slower
    than a cut would mean that if a show had fadeout/fade-ins
    at the same frequency as they do cuts, that people
    would find the effect very annoying.

    So, it would seem to me, that if a director was
    forced to just use fadeout/fade-ins that that would
    lead to fewer fadeout/fade-in just because of the
    annoyance factor. And that that would lead to
    fewer Orienting Response activations, which would
    lead to a more involved brain.

    But of course, this is just speculation on my part.
    For a real answer, the experiment would have to
    be done !

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=0005339B-A694-1CC5-B4A8809EC588EEDF&page=2

    http://www.commercialalert.org/news/archive/2002/02/television-addiction-is-no-mere-metaphor

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  3. What if you’re thinking while watching television the whole time? I think all the time while watching television but I don’t always think about the tv show, movie, or wrestling event, I’ll usually think about other things. For example lately I’ve been thinking about a couple articles like this I’ve found around the internet. I wanted to ask you about this hypnotic trance that other sites mention. I’m always able to think clearly and logically. Another thing I wanted to ask you about was that you mentioned was that small childrens brains were more plastic than adults. Is this because their brain is still growing? Also, if people are watching something thst makes them think like 1984 wouldn’t that have to increase brain wave activity because they’re logically thinking about it?

    I’m sixteen and I watch television all the time. I also read books, comics, and work out as well, I still consider myself to be smart. To be fair we moved around a lot and my Mother only had a TV some of the time so I wasn’t exposed to it as much. Again though as long as people don’t watch complete garbage (anything on MTV minus Beavis and Butthead which is a parody of 90’s people who did nothing but watch TV) shouldn’t the brain be engaged because it has to logically follow a plot for example the new Batman movie?

    Sorry for the long windrant/questions. I certainly don’t mean to be rude but I just love watching tv as movies etc.. are an artform and I don’t feel less intelligent or like I’m wasting my time when watching (sorry if this comes out weirdly written, my first draft was perfect but it got deleted).

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    • Really sorry about the spelling mistakes there, its kind of hard for me to type on a PS3 as I have to hit the correct letters by tapping them with x which leads me to have some complications. I certainly hope I don’t come across as moronic.

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    • Hi Sebastian

      “Another thing I wanted to ask you about was that you mentioned was that small childrens brains were more plastic than adults. Is this because their brain is still growing?”

      Exactly. Adults complain that children have so much more energy than adults, but kids have a limited amount of time to not only absorb information, but also to master a huge number of skills, from crawling to walking, to running, to speaking, to reading, to how to play, to how to make friends, etc.

      “I think all the time while watching television but I don’t always think about the tv show, movie, or wrestling event, I’ll usually think about other things. For example lately I’ve been thinking about a couple articles like this I’ve found around the internet. I wanted to ask you about this hypnotic trance that other sites mention.”

      Regarding the hypnotic trance, the most authoritative scientific article on TV and brainwaves, was the Scientific American article “Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor”. The authors write “”The EEG studies similarly show less mental stimulation, as measured by alpha brain-wave production, during viewing than during reading.” It is an excellent article, but unfortunately the wording is kind of ambiguous, making it sound like viewers are put into an alpha-brainwave state (a daydream state).

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=television-addiction-is-n-2002-02&page=1

      Full text:

      http://www.jr.co.il/articles/tv.txt

      Actually what happens is that watching the “formal features” of TV triggers the “Orienting Response”. The “orienting response” blocks alpha brainwave production, and it also blocks Gamma brainwave production. The alpha brainwaves recover very quickly, but the Gamma brainwaves recover much more slowly. The result is that compared to reading, the viewer has:

      – slightly less alpha brainwaves (only slightly less because the Alpha brainwaves recover quickly),

      – a similar amount of Beta brainwaves (Beta brainwaves are associated with alertness and logical thinking)

      – and much less Gamma brainwaves (Gamma brainwaves are associated with higher problem-solving and creative thinking).

      The overall result is the brain producing slower brainwaves during viewing compared to reading.

      https://tvsmarter.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/how-tv-effects-brainwaves/

      Actually doing something, and making an effort to do it well, activates the Gamma Brainwaves. Drawing, stacking blocks, playing a musical instrument, playing a game, writing, doing math problems, all activate lots of Gamma Brainwaves. This gives your brain a workout, and develops your brain’s ability to concentrate.

      Reading, like watching TV, is a passive activity (although less passive than TV). Reading activates more Gamma brainwaves than TV watching, but not that much more. So reading doesn’t give your brain a big workout, but the skill of reading is such an important skill, that spending time reading, is time well spent. Plus if you are tired and just want to relax and be entertained, sitting down with a good comic book, or trashy novel is providing passive entertainment, but in addition providing practice of this very important skill.

      TV, on the other hand, greatly rewards your brain over and over again for doing nothing. You may be thinking while you are watching the TV, but don’t need to actually do anything to keep the TV going. The reason just about everyone loves to watch TV is that it provides a big reward (since it is so entertaining) but with no effort.

      The great thing about just about every other activity, is that they take effort, and that the effort is rewarded. Playing a video game is fun, but it also takes effort. Reading a book, riding a bicycle, skate boarding, playing basketball, socializing – they are all fun, and they all take effort.

      Every other activity teaches that effort is important and that effort can be fun. TV teaches the exact opposite.

      And effort is the basis for a happy and successful life. So that Sebatian, is why I hope you’ll consider less TV and more everything else!

      Terry

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      • Well thank you for responding, that does make a lot of sense actually. Another qyestion I have is, does TV actually make you stupider? My definition of smart is basically how much knowledge you have, so unless TV made you lose memory at a really fast rate you shouldn’t really lose intelligence.

        About the gamma waves, TV may be setting them off course but is it bad enough that it can’t be off set by one of the numerous activities you mentioned?

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      • Ooh, I didn’t see that socalizing one the first time. Would TV be okay to watch if you’re talking to a friend over the phone, also does typing make an effort gamma wise?

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  4. Hi Sebastian

    “Another qyestion I have is, does TV actually make you stupider? My definition of smart is basically how much knowledge you have, so unless TV made you lose memory at a really fast rate you shouldn’t really lose intelligence.”

    I don’t think that TV makes people lose memories. Or if you define intelligence as IQ, I don’t think that TV lowers IQ. But I do think that TV lowers motivation and focus, and TV cuts into free time. Because learning skills takes motivation and focus and time, the result is that TV lowers skills. In the real world, knowledge and IQ are admired, but what people will pay for is skill. To make a living, some skill sets, or skill level is essential.

    “About the gamma waves, TV may be setting them off course but is it bad enough that it can’t be off set by one of the numerous activities you mentioned?”

    For someone very young, no-TV or low-TV would be very important. For someone older, perhaps it would depend. Say they worked at a repetitive, not very stimulating job all day, and then came home and watched 1 or 2 hours of TV per night, their poor brain would turn into a couch potato. But a couple of hours per week, could I think, be easily offset with other fun activities.

    In a lot of ways the brain is like a muscle, it needs to exercise to stay healthy.

    Terry

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  5. Hi Sebastian

    “Would TV be okay to watch if you’re talking to a friend over the phone …”

    Well, I think that talking on the phone while watching TV is better than just watching TV, but just talking on the phone would be even better yet.

    “… also does typing make an effort gamma wise?”

    That’s a good question, I haven’t tested that. I would imagine that writing an email or story that you’ve composed yourself on the computer would take more Gamma brainwaves than using the keyboard to copy something onto the computer. But it would be interesting to compare the two.

    One thing that you could do to test this whole TV issue, is to gradually cut back on the amount of TV you watch and replace it with other fun things that you enjoy. After you’ve cut back quite a bit, you can see for yourself if less-TV has make a positive effect on your life or not. This would be a scientific way to see for yourself.

    Best wishes and keep me posted!

    Terry

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  6. testing 222

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    • Hey, sorry I haven’t responded in a while. Anyway, when you’re solving a math problem your brain is using gamma waves and such. Well if there’s a problem, not a math one but rather a logical one, would you then have a spike in gamma waves or is solving a couple math problems different? Would people with higher gamma wave activity think in a more intelligent way? Or does it have more to do with problem solving than logically thinking?

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      • I know you’re probably busy or something among those lines so this will be my last question, do people with higher gamma waves think better when it comes to logic? I know that it spikes when you’re doing something to exercise your brain but I read somewhere that kids that did good IQ tests had higher gamma wave activity. It makes sense since you have to use higher cognitive thinking when it comes to IQ tests. However, I asked my Mother, who’s a nurse if thinking logically about a problem would spike gamma waves and she said yes, leading me to wonder if people with higher gamma activity are better at logically thinking.

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      • Hi Sebastian

        “Well if there’s a problem, not a math one but rather a logical one, would you then have a spike in gamma waves or is solving a couple math problems different?”

        No, I don’t think that a math problem is different, math is just a specialized form of logical thinking. As for a math problem causing a Gamma spike, I think it would depend on how hard the math problem is. If the math problem was too easy, I don’t think Gamma would spike. Or, if it was too hard, one would just be getting frustrated instead of concentrating on the problem, and again the Gamma brainwaves wouldn’t spike. Kind of like a physical work-out, if you are already in great shape, a one mile jog won’t raise a sweat, and would not be much of a work-out. but if you are in terrible shape, then a one mile jog would be a great work-out and would definitely work up a sweat.

        “leading me to wonder if people with higher gamma activity are better at logically thinking.”

        I think that makes sense.

        According to the research, Gamma brainwaves are essential for “working memory” and “working memory” is essential for math and reading ability.

        “Working memory is the ability to actively hold information in the mind. Recent results demonstrate that working memory is organized by oscillatory processes in the theta and gamma frequency range.”

        http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2810%2900447-1?script=true

        “It has generally been shown that the more working memory capacity a person has, the better their performance on academic tasks such as problem solving and reasoning. To further explore this, Beilock and her colleagues compared math test scores in individuals who had higher levels of working memory with those who had less. The subjects took a math test either in a high pressure situation or low pressure situation. It turns out that the subjects with higher working memory levels performed very poorly during the high pressure testing situation—that is, the subjects with the greatest capacity for success were the most likely to “choke under pressure”. Beilock surmises that individuals with higher levels of working memory have superior memory and computational capacity, which they use on a regular basis to excel in the classroom. “However, if these resources are compromised, for example, by worries about the situation and its consequences, high working memory individuals’ advantage disappears,” Beilock explains.”

        http://www.science20.com/news_releases/math_under_stress_working_memory_key

        It used to be believed that IQ was immutable. But it turns out that:

        “Brain-training efforts designed to improve working memory can also boost scores in general problem-solving ability and improve fluid intelligence, according to new University of Michigan research.”

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505075642.htm

        Note, “working memory” and IQ are two different, but related things. An excellent “working memory” improves IQ, but most importantly, it makes it possible to make the most of one’s intellect, whatever one’s IQ.

        “More striking is that every single prodigy scored off the charts in working memory — better than 99 percent of the general population. In fact, six out of the eight prodigies scored at the 99.9th percentile! Working memory isn’t solely the ability to memorize a string of digits. That’s short-term memory. Instead, working memory involves the ability to hold information in memory while being able to manipulate and process other incoming information.”

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201207/are-prodigies-autistic

        I truly believe that the reason so many kids in America are reading at a less than proficient level, and that the United States is trailing other countries in math, is because so many kids’ “working memory” has been compromised. Why? Because their developing brains are not getting the Gamma brainwave work-outs that they used to get before TV enticed them onto the couch for hours every day.

        “I know you’re probably busy or something among those lines so this will be my last question …”

        I’ve really enjoyed our back-and-forth. Anytime you have a question or concern, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

        Terry

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  7. Huh, thank you so much Terry, this information has literally made me smarter, another question I have is, are people with higher working memory, since they think better logically does that mean they have better taste than other people when it comes to books and things like that? I know its all subjective but technically if the person is thinking at a higher level doesn’t that make them literally have better taste in things or not so much since your Gamma waves aren’t doing anything?

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    • Hi Sebastian

      “this information has literally made me smarter”

      Well that’s the nicest comment I’ve ever gotten, thank you.

      “are people with higher working memory, since they think better logically does that mean they have better taste than other people when it comes to books and things like that? I know its all subjective but technically if the person is thinking at a higher level doesn’t that make them literally have better taste in things or not so much since your Gamma waves aren’t doing anything?”

      My own personal feeling is that taste really is very subjective. For example music styles, musicians need lots of Gamma brainwaves to play well, and yet there are musicians that are attracted to all sorts of different music styles, even music styles that I personally can’t stand (like Country and Opera). So I think, it really is in the eye of the beholder.

      Terry

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      • Would you perhaps notice more things and see more things wrong with say a show if you had higher Gamma waves or would you notice the same amount of things if you had a “normal” amount of Gamma waves?

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  8. Hi Sebastian

    “Would you perhaps notice more things and see more things wrong with say a show if you had higher Gamma waves or would you notice the same amount of things if you had a “normal” amount of Gamma waves?”

    If you were reading a comic book version of a story, your level of Gamma waves would be higher and I think you would be better at picking out logical inconsistencies, etc. in the story than if you were watching the same story on TV or at the movies.

    Similarly, a series of studies found that people remembered more from reading the transcript of a news show than actually watching that show. And memory is essential for seeing inconsistencies and catching misinformation.

    Terry

    “The act of reading fosters habits of analysis, questioning, comprehension, and rationality. Television, with its emphasis on emotion, image, and speed, fails to contribute to the development of these key skills.”
    – The NCES (2000)

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    • I read some other study online that had something to do with your waves still not going up while watching TV even when they were reading sub titles. I’m guessing this is because of the TV screen or something like that and was wondering if you had any information on that. Also, are computer screens different than TV screens?

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      • Hi Sebastian

        “I read some other study online that had something to do with your waves still not going up while watching TV even when they were reading sub titles. I’m guessing this is because of the TV screen or something like that and was wondering if you had any information on that.

        The brainwave effect of reading subtitles while watching TV? I don’t know, good question. My guess would be that a person reading subtitles while watching TV would have more Gamma brainwaves than someone just watching TV, because of the extra effort involved in reading. But that reading subtitles would involve fewer Gamma brainwaves than while reading a book, because of the distraction of the movement on the screen.

        “Also, are computer screens different than TV screens?”

        It depends. If someone is watching a movie or TV show on their computer screen, then it is no different than watching TV. If someone is reading a book on their computer screen, then it is very different.

        The physical screens themselves are pretty interchangeable.

        Terry

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      • Sorry I haven’t posted back in so long, I just haven’t had any questions till now. Here’s a new one for ya, what would happen if someone watched TV for…. say three months? Now, their brain would become impossibly lazy, however what would happen if right after that they read books for like two weeks nonstop? Also does watching TV do anything to your attention span? I would think it would increase it because your spending a longer amount of attention on something than just a short commercial or whatever.

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