The effects of Grey's Anatomy

February 25, 2011 3:52:58 PM PST
"Grey's anatomy" has been captivating audiences since it premiered in 2005. However, it may have a bigger effect than many loyal fans think.

One study suggests the ABC medical drama has an impact on viewers not just in their living room, but at the doctor's office, too.

Is real medicine the way you see it on TV, the short answer is no, surprising, a lot of people expect that their clinics, doctors and hospitals should be the way they see them on TV, and that can be a distortion.

In Grey's Anatomy, the doctors are smart, good looking and above all, capable and interesting, with many positive attributes.

Those good attributes are associated with real doctors, according to a study by Brian Quick, of the University of Illinois. Frequent viewers of the show tended to have a more positive perception of their real world doctors then non-viewers.

"The more episodes viewers watched, the more likely they were to perceive the show as credible, and then the more likely they were to perceive the show as credible, the more likely they were to perceive real world doctors as their doctors to be courageous, which led to patient satisfaction," said Quick.

In the study, quick explains that through cultivation theory, the lines between what is shown on television and reality are distorted.

"Cultivation theory basically says the more TV you watch, more TV reality and the more social reality blur," said Quick.

"This is important to how people's perception of the world is created, because often viewers do not have a real life interaction in settings like hospitals or emergency rooms," said Quick.

Instead, TV is how they come to understand those environments. Katie Foley and Tyler Jones have been loyal viewers of "Grey's Anatomy" since the show debuted six years ago.

"I love the show because of how the stories are put together," said Jones.

"It's definitely a show that has a really healthy balance in between fiction and character storylines and plotlines and also medical field and industry alone, and how they weave that together is really brilliant almost because how every episode carries out, intertwines reality and fiction," said Jones

"I think they give a pretty accurate account of what goes on, or at least I would like to think they do," said Foley.

"I think that it definitely makes hospitals and doctors and everything a lot less scary, because they just become less intimidating because these are real people who care about me, and I see it on the show, so I think it could transition into real life," said Foley.

"It makes an impact on how people's perception of the world is created," said Quick.