dispositions toward certain kinds of programming are not constant across all viewers. How people think or feel about programs or the extent to which the audience flows toward or across certain programs or program types varies between demographic divisions of the population. More significantly, however, are those findings that indicate differences in viewing patterns or attitudinal preferences for programs associated with enduring psychological characteristics of viewers. Although much more work still needs to be done to clarify and test the reliability of these findings, early indications are that this line of research is well worth pursuing. It could prove to be work of no small practical worth to broadcast institutions, who in the face of the ever more fragmenting audiences, need to understand better why audiences behave in the ways they do. Then, from both an academic and social policy standpoint, understanding why audiences flow toward programs in different ways could contribute significantly to a better understanding of the effects of television, research on which in the past has all too often ignored how people watch television. Unless we can be clear on this last point, we can never hope to demonstrate properly the extent to which television influences the way people think, feel, and behave.
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