Open Access Honors Program Thesis
In the 1940s and 1950s, television and radio had taken over as the dominant form of media (Understanding Media and Culture: an Introduction to Mass Communication). Anthropologist Donald Horton and sociologist R. Wohl noted a strange new relationship developing between the audiences and the hosts under this new dominant media. These relationships ranged from close friendships with radio hosts like Dave Garroway to people wanting to marry fictional characters such as the gal from the radio broadcast, Lonesome Gal. Horton and Wohl realized that these new relationships were not quite the same as interpersonal relationships as they could never be reciprocated; therefore, they created a new concept: parasocial relationships (Horton 215). It defined a relationship that is entirely one-sided with little to no chance of a mutual relationship forming. It was 1956 when Horton and Wohl first defined this concept, and while they could not predict the way media would evolve, they had two hypotheses that would be later proven to be true. Loneliness breeds toxic parasocial relationships (Bernhold), and interactivity deepens parasocial relationships(Liebers). When these two facts are combined with the mass isolation caused by SAR-CoV-2 and limitless interactivity of video games, a recipe for trouble is brewing.
Year of Submission
Department of Languages and Literatures
University Honors Designation
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors
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©2021 Isabelle Zeimetz
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Zeimetz, Isabelle, "Trouble Brewing: An exploration in parasocial relationships with fictional characters" (2021). Honors Program Theses. 517.