Did You Know That Listening To Podcasts Can Make You Feel Less Lonely?

A new study has revealed

Do you ever find yourself turning to the cosy comfort of a podcast while you’re cracking on with household cores, or blocking out the monotony of your daily commute? Well, as it turns out that’s pretty common practice, actually.

A new study by Plos One has revealed that listening to podcasts can fill the need for social interaction while you complete mundane tasks.

Podcast listeners reportedly found that podcast listening ‘enriched their experience and left participants feeling productive and that they learned something new’.

girl listening to music on a phone

This feeling of social fulfillment is due to a phenomenon called ‘epistemic curiosity’ which refers to ‘the desire for knowledge, with interest reflecting an enjoyment of new discoveries’.

Listeners also get a sense of fulfillment from the more personal style that many podcast hosts adopt, which makes the host feel familiar, and as though you’re part of the conversation.

Podcasts with multiple hosts give the listener opportunities to engage in a pre-existing attachment with other hosts or celebrities that they follow, which builds on this feeling of connection and discussion.

However, this can come with its faults too.

The study also shows that podcasts can form unhealthy, para-social connections with podcast hosts, specifically those who show a particular interest in their listeners, and share personal content with followers, which means they can be ‘seen as more competent, authentic, and unpredictable’ according to the study.

A parasocial relationship means that fans form a one-sided relationship with a media figure or celebrity. This is a huge power imbalance as one person is pouring all of their energy and emotions into a relationship, while the other person is completely unaware of their existence.

Too heavy of a reliance on parasocial relationships is problematic as attachments can enable people to isolate themselves from their real-life companions.

Podcasts are an incredible comfort for many of us, and whilst it might be nice to feel like the host is a friend, it’s important to make time for in-person interaction with friends as well. Balance guys, y’know.

Written by Rebekah O’Reilly


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