We’re a nation of TV lovers, with the average Briton watching the small screen for a 112 hours per month – so it’s little wonder that the programmes you’re hooked on can reveal a lot about you, according to psychologists.
Dennis Relojo-Howell and Michael Padraig Acton have teamed up with TV sponsors tombola to compile a list of the most popular genres and what type of person watches them.
A love of soaps shows you crave a routine and are the happiest of viewers, while thrillers signal you’re an extrovert, say the experts.
Here, Dennis and Michael suggest what your favourite shows say about you…
Crime dramas = Perceptive
Crime drama enthusiasts like the distraction from their stressful lives and are often incredibly perceptive. Pictured, Line Of Duty
Crime drama enthusiasts like the distraction from their stressful lives and are often incredibly perceptive.
A record 12.8million viewers tuned in for the final episode of series six of the hit BBC One drama Line of Duty, suggesting we’re a nation of amateur detectives.
And it turns out that those that regularly watch crime dramas have an ideal detective trait because they are thought to be very perceptive.
Dennis said: ‘One of the strong points of crime dramas lies in its ability to inform, or misinform, our perceptions about crime reality within the lens of critical social consideration.
‘People with perceptive personalities are drawn to this genre because it gives them the chance to explore the nuances of human behaviour.’
Michael also suggested that crime drama viewers use their favourite shows as a healthy way to offload the inner stresses they carry.
He claimed: ‘Big crime drama fans are likely to score high on the Neuroticism dimension but that is not a bad thing because they are choosing (unconsciously) to offload their tension in a healthy way.
‘By projecting their own inner stress on the unfolding drama, they can detach, relax and achieve emotional release when the crime is solved.’
A love of soaps shows you crave a routine and are the happiest of viewers, while thrillers signal you’re an extrovert, say the experts. Pictured, BBC’s Bodyguard
Reality TV = Friendliest
Reality TV lovers are some of the friendliest viewers, with four in 10 Britons watching some form of the genre.
But the hardcore reality TV fans also adore being the centre of attention and are ‘likely to be the life and soul of the party’, according to the experts.
Dennis said: ‘Reality TV is an intriguing hybrid of dramatisation and real life. For this reason, they tend to attract viewers who have sociable personalities.’
Reality TV also provides a window into watching social interactions that we might not usually see, which can also help aid our social skills, he said.
Michael, however, went on to add: ‘There is a lot of variety in reality TV and some shows (e.g. Keeping Up With The Kardashians) attract people who are more individualistic in outlook and love to be the centre of attention.’
Soaps = Happiest
Soap fans are also most interested in forming strong relationships, according to the psychologists. Pictured, the street sign for Albert Square in EastEnders
Soap fans love a routine and are most interested in forming strong relationships, according to the psychologists.
A quarter of the population watch shows such as EastEnders and Coronation Street regularly, and they are said to be some of the happiest people since joyful dispositions are ‘likely to be drawn to this genre’, says Dennis, founder of Psychreg.
He explained: ‘Soaps tend to mirror the complexities and dramas of life. People who have happy dispositions are likely to be drawn to this genre.’
Michael added: ‘Soaps appeal to people who are empathetic and interested in relationships. They also like the familiarity of the weekly schedule.’
Royal dramas = Aspirational
Fans of royal dramas like The Crown (pictured, series one), once voted the most popular series on Netflix, are the most fashionable and cultural but love their traditions, said the experts
Fans of royal dramas like The Crown, once voted the most popular series on Netflix, are the most fashionable and cultural but love their traditions, said the experts.
Dennis claimed: ‘Royal dramas are bursting with different ways of thinking, making and doing. They showcase history, art, and culture. For this reason, they tend to attract viewers who consider themselves to be fashionable.’
Thriller = Extrovert
Thriller lovers are some of the most extroverted and adventurous people there are, according to Dennis.
He said: ‘In a thriller genre, the threat of death or capture is ever-present, and clever plot twists usually complicate the matter.
‘That’s why people who have adventurous personalities tend to appreciate thriller films,’ the expert added.
Michael also suggested viewers of this genre are often aspirational and daydreamers.
He said: ‘Royal dramas appeal to people with similar personality traits to those mentioned for soaps but especially to those with an attraction to heroism and tradition.
‘They may be nostalgic and have a love of fairy tales, perhaps harbouring dreams of wealth and influence.’
Documentaries = Relaxed
Those that prefer documentaries are thought to be more accepting and have an urge to seek out knowledge, explained the experts.
Documentary viewers are also some of the more relaxed people in the UK, compared to those who don’t, claimed Dennis.
‘This genre of non-fiction that aims to inform viewers about a real-life topic, person, event, or issue is particularly interesting to people who have relaxed personalities,’ he said.
Michael added: ‘People who enjoy documentaries may also be interested in people but in a collective way rather than individualistic.
‘They often like to explore topics in depth and to be seen as knowledgeable. Of the Big 5 personality dimensions used by some personality psychologists, they might score high in Conscientiousness and also Openness.’