Why watching The Bachelor might be a sign you’re smart
“Why are you watching that garbage?”
A common question posed to those who enjoy movies like Sharknado or shows like Real Housewives and The Bachelor. And although some may consider them a waste of time and look down on people who enjoy them, a 2016 study found that people who watch this kind of “trashy” entertainment are actually highly educated and intelligent.
“Intelligence isn’t correlated with things that entertain us,” says Dr. Tabatha Greene, a psychologist at Advocate Medical Group. “There are many reasons we watch things. Sometimes we want to escape reality or just simply have something in the background that requires little concentration.”
For the study, researchers first identified characteristics of “trashy” films and then attempted to determine why people watch and enjoy them. They found that intelligent people were watching these movies mainly because they used it as an escape compared to bigger-budget movies that required more attention. They also discovered that many viewers watched and enjoyed with the irony of knowing how bad they were.
“There is almost a ‘train wreck’ factor in watching these films,” says Dr. Greene. “The idea that something is so bad you cannot look away from it. Some of these are even watched with the goal of just staying aware of what is going on in pop culture so people can join in on conversations with friends and coworkers. No matter the reason, if it’s entertaining and you enjoy it in a healthy way, don’t worry about who thinks it’s trashy.”
To be clear, the study didn’t discover that people who watch television are smart as a result of the content they watch. However, perhaps this study opens up the idea that various entertainment can be enjoyed by people all across the spectrum of intelligence.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.