Cited in Yahoo Health – ‘The Bachelorette’ Finale Is Painful To Watch — Here’s Why We Do It Anyway

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.38.54 PMEver wonder why we care so much about TV characters, and reality TV characters in particular?  I was pleased to help out on this fun piece by Korin Miller about why the Bachelorette finale was so painful to watch, and yet something we couldn’t resist: ‘The Bachelorette’ Finale Is Painful to Watch — But Here’s Why We Do It Anyway

But we don’t just view reality shows like The Bachelorette from a distance: Licensed clinical psychologist Alicia Clark, PsyD, says we actually experience some level of anxiety when we tune in.

“We feel these emotions as if we are there, and get so involved with contestants over time,” she tells Yahoo Health. “The final outcome of a series is something that is quite real to us and evokes real emotion.”

We’re hard-wired to feel empathy for others, and anxiety in particular (which The Bachelorette thrives on) is an emotion that we’re sensitive to, she says. So when Viall admitted that he was nervous before his proposal attempt, and upset after he was rejected, viewers felt nervous and uncomfortable on some level, too.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD