Television and Its Viewers

What Social Science Sees

by George A. Comstock


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback26 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

In the past 25 years there has accumulated a sizable scientific literature on television. This paper focuses on four themes: (1) The role of TV in behavior modification: There is evidence that TV can contribute to both voluntary and involuntary behavior modification. (2) The influence of TV on the way people spend their time: A UNESCO investigation of large samples from 15 industrialized cities found that set owners spend about an hour a day more in time devoted to television, and about 13 percent less time sleeping. (3) The contribution of TV to politics: Television has altered the organization of campaigns so that TV access is a major thrust, and it has increased the public's vicarious participation in politics. (4) Television and the public: The relationship between the public and TV is one of love-hate, the public accepting the faults as a fair price for the pleasures, and acclaiming it the major source of news, yet not fully paying attention.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.