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television viewing styles


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Modes of interaction by individuals with television in particular viewing contexts, including the viewer's relative focus on TV compared to simultaneous activities, degree of attention to the screen, and levels of involvement with TV content. This is sometimes referred to in terms of emotional involvement or critical detachment (see high and low involvement). Some researchers have identified differences in viewing styles which relate to gender stereotypes, such as an instrumental or goal-directed style among males and a relationship-oriented style among females (compare expressive communication; instrumental communication). This is reflected in observations such as that women are more likely to talk as they watch. In household contexts, the tendency for men to exercise more control over what they watch suggests the basis of such performances of gender in power rather than sex (see also performativity). See also channel surfing; glance; grazing; parasocial interaction; sit up or sit back; television viewing patterns; zapping; zipping.

Subjects: Media Studies.


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