Does TV Rot Your Brain? Television’s Negative Effects on Processing Thoughts

Look closely at the eyes of anyone ‘glued to the TV,’ and you may see zombie eyes or a spaced out expression. TV is made to grab out attention and keep it there. Everyone knows that watching TV feels relaxing. It shuts out the rest of our crazy world and allows us to retreat somewhere else. But did you know that your brain waves are actually altered when you watch TV?

Your brain actually goes into an alpha wave state – a relaxed state where you become less alert and more passive. This state is somewhat comparable to hypnosis – and it doesn’t end when you switch off the tube.

The culprit is most likely the cathode ray tubes in the TV monitor which produce a flicker that the conscious mind does not detect.

According to a Scientific American survey, “participants commonly reflect that TV has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before.”

In the 1980’s researchers in Australia found that the left brain “sort of went to sleep” once the TV was switched on, as the right brain was busy storing information in the memory bank. As the right side of the brain is dutifully absorbing all of the images, your left brain which is responsible for critical analysis, has been lulled into a stupor. This makes analysis of what you see on TV difficult.

These studies have profound implications on watching news and other forms of educational TV. At best what you learn on TV is like learning in your sleep. That may be of some benefit to the producers of commercials that want to sell you something – have you ever seen a commercial for a mouth watering meal at your favorite restaurant and suddenly felt very hungry?

The research concluded that for subjects that require careful thought and analysis TV is virtually useless. It is more effective to read newspapers to learn about world events than to watch it on a TV screen.

Does TV rot your brain? You decide. If watching TV truly makes you more passive and therefore susceptible to “programming” a good idea is to limit the amount of time you spend watching TV.

Trade your TV time for a beneficial activity such as: reading something uplifting and inspiring, getting some exercise, listening to your favorite music or meditating. You will feel better and your brain will thank you for that!