In addition to a Psychology major, I’m also a Communication studies major, so Theresa Caputo, more commonly known as “Long Island Medium” naturally intrigues me. In the Communication Studies field at Michigan we study the media, its changing landscape, and its effects. During the guest lecture on Monday, either Melissa or Rita mentioned the T.V. show Long Island Medium and its potential implications for mainstream viewing. As extraordinary psychic experiences are becoming widely accepted—or at least considered—I wonder how this affects viewers’ attitudes. More importantly, is there a shift in beliefs and attitudes toward psychic experience because of the mainstream shows? It would be interesting to conduct a study to find out how shows like Crossing Over with John Edward, Long Island Medium, and the like have impacted viewers, so maybe this is some future research to consider.
Either Melissa or Rita talked about how Theresa is a real medium, but the show is extremely staged—like any reality show. However, I wonder if this affects viewers’ perception of psychic experience. Because most viewers are aware of the staging in reality T.V., it’s possible that viewers also see Theresa’s powers to be a part of this dramatic scheme. Although Long Island Medium may be reinforcing ideas, it could also be causing viewers to become more critical due to the reality show atmosphere.
As I listened/read interviews with Theresa, her description of her powers seems to align with literature and personal accounts from friends—and the way she presents it seems authentic. Her over-the-top personality is perfect for T.V., and until more research is done, I think that spreading these kinds of ideas via T.V. is a great start to integrating extraordinary experiences into media.