Document Type


Publication Date



Recently, a group of media scholars proposed that eudaimonic entertainment experiences can be differentiated into inward-driven and outward-driven experiences. The current study empirically tested this proposition by focusing on transcendent portrayals (i.e., content or character portrayals that focus on something greater than oneself) as one content characteristic to differentiate the proposed inward/self-focused from more outward/other-focused effects within the context of eudaimonic TV shows. A preregistered experiment (N = 147) revealed that highly transcendent TV shows elicited more self-transcendent emotions, universalism, and money donation behavior, as well as fewer self-image goals, than less transcendent TV shows. As expected, there was no difference between conditions in mixed affect (all but one of the TV shows), contemplation, and intrinsic need satisfaction. The results indicate that outward-oriented narratives include entertainment experiences previously associated with inward-oriented narratives, but not necessarily vice versa. The role of types of transcendent portrayals, quality of portrayals, and number of portrayals for the differentiation of various eudaimonic entertainment experiences are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Psychology of Popular Media in 2022 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.


American Psychological Association



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.