Seems reality tv isn’t all bad—in fact, it’s being used in official studies to look at how we hook up and connect with the opposite sex. MSNBC reports a new study conducted by Barry X. Kuhle, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, is using the hopeless victims of the salacious reality show Cheaters as scientific data to define cheating patterns and reasoning.
Researchers have examined 102 confrontations depicted on the show and determined that of the number of men cheated on, 57 percent wanted to know the details of the intercourse while the women who were cheated on only asked for physical details 29 percent of the time. The women seemed much more concerned with the emotional betrayal — 71 percent demanded details of the nature of the relationship.
While this conclusion is not ground-breaking (any woman over age 25 could tell you this sad tale) the more important question is can we trust evidence collected from reality television? Producers are often accused of strategic editing and influencing subjects — even writing scripts. So are we seeing the REAL “reality” of a situation or a producer’s ratings-thirsty perspective?
Kuhle admits producers influence is a contributing factor to the study being inconclusive. However, past studies which examine sex, infidelity and jealousy could only ask subjects to refer to a past memory or imagine what they’d feel if someone cheated on them (so perhaps using this media was an innovative approach?).
The thing is, anyone who’s watched the show can tell you this is a particular focus group — the toothless Jerry Springer set. Perhaps next time researchers can use shows like Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise or MTV’s 16 and Pregnant to help fill in their entire “your man is a total dawg” demographic.