Moved to think: The role of emotional media experiences in stimulating reflective thoughts

Anne Bartsch, Anja Kalch, Mary Beth Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent conceptualizations of eudaimonic entertainment and aesthetic experience highlight the role of emotions in stimulating rewarding experiences of insight, meaning, and reflectiveness among entertainment audiences. The current evidence is mainly correlational, however. This study used an experimental approach to examine the assumed causal influence of being moved, on reflective thoughts. Participants were randomly assigned to see one of two versions of a short film that elicited different levels of feeling moved, while keeping the cognitive, propositional content constant. Feeling moved was conceptualized and operationalized as an affective state characterized by negative valence, moderate arousal, mixed affect, and by the labeling of the experience in terms of feeling moved. As expected, the more moving film version elicited more reflective thoughts, which in turn predicted individuals' overall positive experience of the film. The effect of the film stimulus on reflective thoughts was fully mediated by individuals' affective state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-140
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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