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Addiction to TV IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 27 February, 2024

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As the most popular test for assessing English proficiency, the IELTS is taken by thousands of students every year. The IELTS Reading test, which is of 60 minutes, measures students' comprehension and vocabulary skills. Students must familiarize themselves with the test's format and type of questions. This will ensure they do not find the exam day too overwhelming or the paper too tricky. This ‘The Addiction to TV IELTS Reading Answers’ sample is designed to help students assess and ace their IELTS preparation. 

Addiction to TV IELTS Reading Passage

The amount of time people spend watching television is astonishing. On average, individuals in the industrialized world devote three hours a day to the pursuit – fully half of their leisure time and more than on any single activity save work and sleep. At this rate, someone who lives to 75 would spend nine years in front of the tube. To some commentators, this devotion means that people enjoy TV and consciously decide to watch it. But if that is the whole story, why do so many people experience misgivings about how much they view it? In Gallup polls in 1992 and 1999, two out of five adult respondents and seven out of 10 teenagers said they spent too much time watching TV. Other surveys have consistently shown that roughly 10 percent of adults call themselves TV addicts.


To study people's reactions to TV, researchers have undertaken laboratory experiments in which they have monitored the brain waves (using an electroencephalograph, or EEG) to track behavior and emotion in the ordinary course of life, as opposed to the artificial conditions of the lab. Participants carried a beeper, and we signaled them six to eight times a day, at random, over the period of a week; whenever they heard the beep, they wrote down what they were doing and how they were feeling using a standardized scorecard.


As one might expect, people watching TV when we beeped them reported feeling relaxed and passive. The EEG studies similarly show less mental stimulation, measured by alpha brain-wave production, during viewing than during reading. What is more surprising is that the sense of relaxation ends when the set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue. Survey participants say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading. After playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements in mood. After watching TV, people's moods are about the same or worse than before. That may be because of viewers' vague learned sense that they will feel less relaxed if they stop viewing. So they tend to keep the set on. Viewing begets more viewing which is the same as the experience of habit-forming drugs. Thus, the irony of TV: people watch a great deal longer than they plan to, even though prolonged viewing is less rewarding. In our ESM studies, the longer people sat in front of the set, the less satisfaction they derived from it. For some, a twinge of unease or guilt that they aren't doing something more productive may also accompany and depreciate the enjoyment of prolonged viewing. Researchers in Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. have found that this guilt occurs much more among middle-class viewers than less affluent ones.


What is it about TV that has such a hold on us? In part, the attraction springs from our biological 'orienting response.' First described by Ivan Pavlov in 1927, the orienting response is our instinctive visual or auditory reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. It is part of our evolutionary heritage, a built-in sensitivity to movement and potential predatory threats. In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television – cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises – activate the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen. By watching how brain waves were affected by standard features, the researchers concluded that these stylistic tricks could trigger involuntary responses and 'derive their attentional value through the evolutionary significance of detecting movement… It is the form, not the content, of television that is unique.’


The natural attraction to television's sound and light starts very early in life. Dafna Lemish of Tel Aviv University has described babies attending television at six to eight weeks. We have observed slightly older infants who, lying on their backs on the floor, crane their necks around 180 degrees to catch what light through their window breaks. This inclination suggests how deeply rooted the orienting response is.


The Experience Sampling Method permitted us to look closely at most every domain of everyday life: working, eating, reading, talking to friends, playing a sport, and so on. We found that heavy viewers report feeling significantly more anxious and less happy than light viewers in unstructured situations, such as doing nothing, daydreaming or waiting in line. The difference widens when the viewer is alone. Subsequently, Robert D. McIlwraith of the University of Manitoba extensively studies those who called themselves TV addicts on surveys. On a measure called the Short Imaginal Processes Inventory (SIPI), he found that the self-described addicts are more easily bored and distracted and have poorer attentional control than the non-addicts. The addicts said they used TV to distract themselves from unpleasant thoughts and to fill time. Other studies over the years have shown that heavy viewers are less likely to participate in community activities and sports and are more likely to be obese than moderate viewers or non-viewers.


More than 25 years ago psychologist Tannis M. MacBeth Williams of the University of British Columbia studied a mountain community that had no television until cable finally arrived. Over time, adults and children in the town became less creative in problem-solving, less able to persevere at tasks, and less tolerant of unstructured time.


Nearly 40 years ago, Gary A. Steiner of the University of Chicago collected fascinating individual accounts of families whose set had broken. In experiments, families have volunteered or been paid to stop viewing, typically for a week or a month. Some fought, verbally and physically. In a review of these could-turkey studies, Charles Winick of the City University of New York concluded: ‘The first three or four days for most persons were the worst, even in many homes where the viewing was minimal and where there were other ongoing activities. In over half of all the households, during these first few days of loss, the regular routines were disrupted, family members had difficulties in dealing with the newly available time, anxiety and aggressions were expressed…. By the second week, a move toward adaptation to the situation was common.’ Unfortunately, researchers have yet to flesh out these anecdotes; no one has systematically gathered statistics on the prevalence of these withdrawal symptoms.

Even though TV does seem to meet the criteria for substance dependence, not all researchers would go so far as to call TV addictive. McIlwraith said in 1988 that 'displacement of other activities by television may be socially significant but still fall short of the clinical requirement of significant impairment.' He argued that a new TV addiction category might not be necessary if heavy viewing stems from depression and social phobia. Nevertheless, whether or not we formally diagnose someone as TV-dependent, millions of people sense that they cannot readily control the amount of television they watch.

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Addiction to TV IELTS Reading Answers

Questions 1-5 

Do the following statements agree with the writer's claims in Reading Passage?

In boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet, write – 

TRUE – If the statement is true 

FALSE – If the statement is false 

NOT GIVEN – If the statement is not given in the passage 

  1. Studies show that males are more likely to be addicted to TV than females. 

Answer – NOT GIVEN 

Explanation: The first three paragraphs of the essay are primarily dedicated to different polls, studies, and experiments conducted to understand man's addiction to TV. While many answers are given in the form of TV addiction in adults and teenagers, no particular mention is made of men and women. We learn that people in urban areas devote nearly three hours a day to watching television; an estimated 10% of the population considers themselves addicted to TV, etc. However, no distinction between men and women is made. 

2. More significant improvements in mood are experienced after watching TV than playing sports. 

Answer – FALSE

Explanation: The answer to this question is found in Paragraph C of the Addiction to TV Reading sample. In this paragraph, the writer distinguishes between two classes of people – those engaging in outdoor activities for leisure and those involved in watching television for entertainment. Mention is made of a study in which it was found that people reported feeling pumped and energetic after a solid sports session. On the other hand, people reported feeling the same or sometimes worse (in terms of mood) after watching television. So, the statement is false. 

3. TV addiction works in similar ways to drugs. 

Answer – TRUE 

Explanation: The answer to this question is derived from Paragraph F of the IELTS reading sample. In this paragraph, the writer talks about the University of Manitoba's Robert D. Mcllwraith and his study measure, the Short Imaginal Processes Inventory (SIPI). First, the writer says that self-proclaimed TV addicts were easily distracted and bored. Then, they mention that these people revealed that they watched television either to pass the time or distract themselves from intrusive and unpleasant thoughts. Since drugs are also generally consumed to ward off thoughts people do not wish to deal with, the statement is true. 

4. It is reported that people's satisfaction is proportional to their time watching TV. 

Answer – FALSE 

Explanation: Paragraph C holds the answer to this question. The writer opens this paragraph by talking about EEG studies. These studies found that viewing tends to lead to more viewing of television. This is because people feel anxious that they wouldn't know how to spend their time were they to turn off the TV set. Throughout the following few lines, the writer says that TV viewers reported feeling guilt, uneasiness, and low satisfaction from the experience. Hence, the statement is false. 

5. Middle-class viewers are more likely to feel guilty about watching TV than the poor. 

Answer – TRUE 

Explanation: The answer to this question can also be found in Paragraph C of The Addiction to TV Reading Answers. In this paragraph, we notice that the writer mentions the EEG studies and their findings. These findings include a general sense of guilt and dissatisfaction among heavy TV viewers. Towards the end of the paragraph, the writer says that studies conducted in Japan, the UK, and the US on prolonged TV viewing found that guilt was mainly prevalent among middle-class people compared to the poor. So, the statement is true. 

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Questions 6-10 

Look at the following researchers (Questions 6-10) and the list of the statements below. Match each researcher with the correct statements. 

Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 6-10 on your answer sheets. 

  1. Byron Reeves and Esther Thorson 

Answer – F (Various media formal characters stimulate people’s reaction on the screen)

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found in Paragraph D of the reading passage. Herein, the writer reveals what it is about television that grips people. The answer lies in the natural human response to orienting. The writer mentions that Ivan Pavlov was the first to study this response in 1927. Further down, the writer talks about Byron Reeves and Esther Thorson, who investigated whether television's formal media features activate the orienting response in humans. 

  1. Dafna Lemish 

Answer – B (People have been sensitive to TV signals since a younger age)

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found at the very beginning of Paragraph E of the Addiction to TV Reading Answers. The writer starts by saying that television's light and sound features attract humans from a young age. In the following sentence, mention is made of Dafna Lemish from Tel Aviv University and her studies which found that babies as young as six to eight weeks were attracted to television. The following line also mentions infants and their response to light proving the truth of orienting. 

  1. Robert D. Mcllwraith 

Answer – G (People who believe themselves to be TV addicts are less likely to join in the group activities)

Explanation: Paragraph F of the Addiction to TV reading sample discusses a study conducted on self-proclaimed TV addicts. Towards the middle of the paragraph, the writer talks about Robert D. Mcllwraith, belonging to the University of Manitoba, who led the study. In the study, he found that those who considered themselves TV addicts were easily distracted, bored, and hence, more reluctant to participate in group activities. The measure used to study the addicts was the Short Imaginal Processing Inventory (SIPI). 

  1. Dennis M. Macbeth Williams 

Answer – C (People are less likely to accomplish their work with television) 

Explanation: This question's answer may be found in Paragraph G of the reading passage. From the get-go, the writer talks about an observation made on a mountain family with no cable connection. Then, they had a television in the house. It was found that with the television, the family's (both children and adults) perseverance in tasks, creativity, problem-solving skills, and tolerance for a free time declined. Psychologist Tannis M. Macbeth Williams made this observation over 25 years ago. 

  1. Charles Winick (It is hard for people to accept life without a TV at the beginning) 

Answer – 

Explanation: As per the Addiction to TV Reading Answers paragraph H, Charles Winick reviewed previous studies by Gary A. Steiner. In his reviews, he found that the first couple of days were the worst in almost half of the households surveyed. The family members found it extremely challenging to imagine life without television. They displayed withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, aggression, inability to cope with extra time, etc. From the second week onwards, the situation improved as people adapted to the new lifestyle (without television). 

List of Statements 

A – Audiences would get hypnotized from viewing too much television. 

B – People have been sensitive to TV signals since a younger age. 

C – People are less likely to accomplish their work with television. 

D – A handful of studies have attempted to study other types of media addiction. 

E – The addictive power of television could probably minimize the problems. 

F – Various media formal characters stimulate people's reactions on the screen. 

G – People who believe themselves TV addicts are less likely to join group activities. 

H – It is hard for people to accept life without a TV at the beginning. 

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Questions 11-13 

Choose the correct letter A, B, C, or D

Write the correct letter in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet. 

  1. People in the industrialized world 

A – Devote ten hours to watching TV on average 

B – Spend more time on TV than other entertainment 

C – Call themselves TV addicts 

D – Enjoy working best 

Answer – B

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found in Paragraph A of The Addiction to TV Reading Answers. In this paragraph, the writer starts with an astonishing revelation, saying that people living in the urban world dedicate nearly three hours a day to watching television. In the following sentence, mention is made that these three hours make up half of the people's leisure time. This proves that people in the industrialized world dedicate more time to television than any other form of entertainment. 

  1. When compared with light viewers, heavy viewers –

A – Like playing sport more than reading 

B – Feel relaxed after watching TV 

C – Spend more time daydreaming 

D – Are more easily bored while waiting in line 

Answer – D

Explanation: This question's answer is in Paragraph F of the Addiction to TV Reading sample. This paragraph is mainly dedicated to the Experience Sampling Method, which enabled researchers to understand TV's effects on everyday activities like eating, talking to friends, reading, etc. Towards the beginning, the writer reveals that people accustomed to watching TV (heavy viewers) reported feeling less happy, anxious, and bored in situations like waiting in line or daydreaming. 

  1. Which of the following statements is true about the family experiment?

A – Not all subjects participate in the experiment for free 

B – There has been complete gathered data 

C – People are prevented from other activities during the experiment 

D – People cannot adapt to the situation until the end 

Answer – 

Explanation: This question's answer can be found in Paragraph H of the Addiction to TV IELTS reading sample. The writer opens this paragraph by discussing family experiments conducted by the University of Chicago's Gary A. Steiner. In the following statement, the writer mentions that certain families participated for free, whereas others had to be paid to participate in the experiment. Hence, the answer is A – not all subjects participate in the experiment for free. 

This Addiction to TV IELTS reading answers is helpful to become familiar with the section format and question types. Start preparing more of such topics to ace your IELTS score.

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