Social Behaviour and the Soap Opera: The Psychology of Social Behaviour and Soap Opera

Psychology of Social Behaviour

Table of Contents


Soap operas are the written products of electronic media with artistic and dramatic aspects to make them lucrative to their viewers. In simpler words, these are literature to be seen but not read. Soap operas have several characters with attractive plots and twists that capture their viewer’s attention. Studies showed a significant relationship between social behaviour and soap operas. This article will elaborately discuss such crucial relationship aspects.  

What is the psychology of social behaviour and the Soap Opera Effect?

Psychology of social behaviour?

The psychology of social behaviour revolves around a few questions such as ‘what shapes the attitude of someone?’ ‘How do some people become great leaders?’ ‘How prejudice develops, and how can someone overcome it?’ etc.

  1. The psychology of social behaviour is based on scientific methods to understand and explain how people think, feel, behave, or get influenced by their surroundings. Therefore, social psychology is about understanding how the surrounding social environment affects a person’s behaviour.
  2. Social psychologists are known to focus on societal concerns, which have a decisive influence on individual well-being and the health of society as a whole. These include various social problems such as substance abuse, crime, bullying, prejudice, domestic violence, health, aggression, etc.
  3. In simple words, people can dramatically influence how another person acts or their choices. When someone takes any decision or reacts to a particular situation depends on how many and what kind of people are present with them.
  4. Social psychology covers many social topics, such as group behaviour, leadership, behaviour (non-verbal), aggression, prejudice, etc.

Psychology of the Soap Opera effect

Soap operas are television serial dramas generally performed on daytime commercial programmes and, most of the time, characterised by typical household situations and domestic dilemmas that often offer melodramatic or sentimental treatment to viewers.

Viewers often identify with their favourite characters in a soap opera, whom they admire and whose lifestyle they want to follow. The soap opera effect happens with viewers when they establish something like a strong relationship with their favourite characters. Generally, such attraction or addiction depends on the viewer’s curiosity about the soap opera characters and their fate in the show.

What are the types of values perceived in soap operas? 

Different types of values perceived in soap operas include:

  1. Soap operas generally reflect a particular aspect of the contemporary life of the viewer.
  2. Soap operas generally have no “typical” viewers due to the broad spectrum of age group, education, and socio-economic status.  
  3. Soap operas portray that sin is to be avoided at any cost, and if not possible, sinners always get punished somehow.

Relation between social behaviour and the soap opera 

Media plays an integral part in our society, where it plays a vital role in imprinting information daily.

  1. Soap operas are well-known influencers in the community depending on the kind of viewers it reaches, both women and men.
  2. Studies show that while few soap operas target men audiences, they predominantly have female viewers. Females tend to get emotionally attached and start to relate particular shows with their personal and domestic life. Such emotional attachment, eagerness, and curiosity also psychologically affect their social, family, and occupational life.
  3. Soap operas also considerably impact children’s behaviour, and they often tend to imitate their favourite scenes from soap operas. For example, evidence suggests that anti-social behaviour among children is getting high because soap opera violence leads to the impersonation of cruelty and violent behaviour. Strict parental supervision can help overcome anti-social behaviour children can pick up from soap operas.

How are social behaviour and soap operas related?

Social behaviour indicates different kinds of interactions among other individuals. Such interactions can be aggressive, communal, self-sacrificing, parental, etc.

To date, soap operas are a persistent and beloved tradition for millions of people. The most recent lockdown also proved that television is still a significant influence that became our lifeline via connecting us to the outside world. Studies revealed that viewers use different social opera environments as a source of information or cues and learn how to behave socially in their daily life. Such huge influences on the viewers’ behaviour have significant consequences, such as being polite to others, empathetic or helpful and kind.


Here are a few reasons why soap operas strongly influence social behaviour:

1. They reflect the viewer’s society

Unlike international shows, soap operas are generally home-grown products that reflect the viewer’s communities.

2. The acting is excellent.

The soap opera actors work very consistently and are good at their jobs. Through their actions, they become believable to the viewers, making them forget the difference between reality and real life.

3. They get people talking.

All over the world, people effectively use soap operas to foster debate and share information in just a matter of moments. It is because soap operas generally have a broad viewer vase, so it’s an effective way of getting any message out to the public.

What are the effects of social behaviour and soap operas?

Over time, soap operas got increasingly inserted into our concrete social reality. Often, soap operas represent a viewer’s daily life, so they are relatable to the viewers. Social behaviour and soap operas have several effects on our daily lives.

For example, the plots of soap operas represent fictional reality associated with a viewer’s personal and professional life and the social contexts in which the viewer belongs. Soap operas often portray images highly related to the viewer’s societal values and beliefs. The main aim of soap operas is to make their viewers feel closer to reality while watching the shows so that they fully believe the contents, can highly relate to the characters and become more and more involved with the programming.

What functions do soap operas serve in their viewer’s life?

Soap operas serve various functions in their viewer’s life, such as:

  1. Relief of boredom
  2. Escapism from reality
  3. Social utility
  4. A sense of companionship
  5. Learning
  6. Relief of stress
  7. Arousal or emotional release
  8. Parasocial interaction 


Creators generally base soap operas on love, betrayal, heartbreak, longing, friendship, honour, and obligation, tightly weaving them through the storyline. Most soap operas borrow from real-life themes that significantly affect everyone to some degree.

The favourite soap operas give viewers great satisfaction via the characters they watch daily. The shows feel significantly relatable to them. Along with the shows’ plots, the viewers also go through trials and tribulations in their minds, reminding them of their own lives and emotions. So soap operas allow the viewers to relive a memorable experience from the comfort of their couch. The viewers even feel they get helpful tips and perhaps even feel cathartic from watching their favourite characters work through difficult and painful parts of the show.

[1] [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Aug-2022].
[2] C. Brunsdon, The feminist, the housewife, and the soap opera. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 2000.

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