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
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
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