Humans share many qualities with their ancient ancestors. They require food, water, shelter,
safety, and the experience of acceptance and connectedness with others
. Importantly, much
technological advancement is designed to help them meet such needs and indeed many of their needs
seem to be addressed practically without effort by using such technological innovation.
Intriguingly, not all technology serves to meet human needs. To the contrary, some technological
developments operate to provide the
of having needs satisfied, without actually satisfying
the need. Evolutionary biologist Steven Pinker, in his pivotal book
How the Mind Works
, he argues
that a number of technological advancements are designed not to directly fulfil evolved needs, but
rather to trick the brain into believing that some needs have been fulfilled.
For example, in ancient history humans have depended on natural resources (e.g., berries) or
meditation to fulfil their appetite. Lately, humans have turned to modern tools of technology, such as
dieting drugs, or more abrasively, liposuction, to combat obesity while still maintaining the same
eating habits. It can be argued that other everyday technologies, such as narrative fiction, television,
music, or video games that connect with users, can also provide the experience of need fulfilment.
There have been experiments involving psychologists using animals to test surrogacy
behaviour by replacing its mother with that of another form, thus satisfying belongingness needs.
Likewise it has been suggested that beloved books, television shows, movies, music, or video games
potentially serve as “social surrogates,” leading to a sense of belongingness even when no real
belongingness has actually been experienced.
This report will attempt to speculate that the social aspects of television may be used to
satisfy belongingness needs which in turn produce greater levels of self-esteem. To support this thesis,
research on parasocial relationships will be described, explaining why television shows in particular,
present both an extensive and powerful vehicle for forming these bonds.
Significance of parasocial relationships