Why do we react so strongly to what happens in « Double Occupation »?

The current seasonDouble occupation is marked by intimidation and rejection. Phenomena that displease the spectators who have complained by the thousands on social networks, forcing the production to intervene. But what explains why the public is so invested in the show and so appalled by what it sees disturbing? We talk about it with a psychologist.

First of all, a reality show, by nature, creates a particular investment in the spectator by its dimension precisely of “reality”, launches Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychologist.

In a work of fiction, you may not feel very good if you witness a bullying situation, but you still know that it is a scenario. While facing a reality TV show, we can identify more with the participants, believes the psychologist.

And as what we see is supposed to be real, « some candidates can make us think of ourselves or of people around us, from our past, » she adds. « We are invested, because we are witnessing a social scene that can evoke experiences that we have already lived or that we could be called upon to live. »

The pain of rejection

This feeling of identification would also be exacerbated when it comes to rejection, believes Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier.

“We are social beings and we all have this fundamental fear of being rejected. It’s an immense pain, we don’t want to experience it and we don’t want to see it in others since it brings us back to our own potential pain, ”explains the psychologist.

This is why when we see in Double occupation the « bad » Philippe or Isaack attack the « good » Jonathan or Tommy, one can have a visceral reaction.

Release anger

This very strong reaction from the public in the last few days in the face of situations presented in the program has thus manifested itself on social networks. Many viewers went so far as to write hate messages addressed to the show’s « torturers », some called for its boycott, while others implored the production to intervene to put a stop to these behaviors judged reprehensible.

We know it, with social networks, it has become very easy to say what we think, to pour out our load of anger. We also know that it’s rarely productive, but psychologist Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier believes that it’s a way for some to overcome the helplessness they feel in front of their television.

« Going to express your disagreement on social networks is a personal way of regaining some control over the situation, » she says. We know very well that the comment will not change reality, but the act of denouncing will do us good at the time, as if we had at least tried to act.

These are the basic functions of anger that come into play here, believes Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier: defending our integrity or that of others when it is threatened and getting out of helplessness when we do not feel well.

Group effect

Finally, the extent of the collective reaction on social networks is explained, according to the expert, by an effect of social enthusiasm.

“The more comments there are, the more we feel justified in pouring out a surplus of hatred”, simply sums up the psychologist.

And this permission that Internet users give themselves to insult people online comes from the fact that they consider their intentions to be good. They and they have the feeling of denouncing an injustice and protecting the integrity of certain people, to the point of no longer realizing that they and they are perpetuating a circle of hatred.

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