Daily Show Viewers Are Deep Thinkers

Jon Stewart and Stephen ColbertThe Daily Show and The Colbert Report are two shows I never miss. I think my obsessiveness of watching them is due to that completist personality I mentioned. Or maybe it’s because I’m a deep thinker.

Hey, I didn’t say it first–a University of Delaware assistant professor in communications did. Dannagal Young surveyed 398 undergraduate students about their views of 13 different TV genres. And she discovered “meaningful differences” in how people watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, finding that some viewers watch the show more for context than information or fun.

Such viewers exhibit high “need for cognition,” a psychological term used to describe people who engage in and enjoy arguments, ideas and the analysis of problems and their solutions.

“It’s not about capacity to think,” Young explains. “It’s about their enjoyment of thinking.”

Young feels that “such viewers are not just watching the show for different reasons; they’re likely experiencing different impacts as a result,” Artika Rangan Casini reported for UDaily.

“We know that the reasons people seek out information strongly affect the implications of those messages,” she says. “In this case, people coming to the show looking for satirical analysis of political information may exhibit more long-lasting shifts in attitude.”

All this talk about thinking reminds me of a Brecht quote: “Thinking is one of the chief pleasures of the human race.” And for me, so is watching Jon and Stephen deliver news in humorous ways.

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