Dr. Sophie Janicke-Bowles
Previous research on mainstream media has discriminated hedonic (i.e., funny, lighthearted) from eudaimonic (i.e., meaningful, elevating) media. Recently, researchers theoretically discriminated eudaimonic media (Oliver et al., 2018) into inspirational and meaningful media, but empirical research on this differentiation has only started. This exploratory study attempted to differentiate the emotions elicited by meaningful or inspiring movie clips. Moreover, the study explored the role of movie endings versus trailer clips as a way to test stimulus material effectiveness for future studies. An online quasi experiment was conducted in which participants (N = 109; 82.6% female, 19.12 years, 72.5% white ethnic majority) viewed 4 of 16 short clips (either 4 of 8 endings or 4 of 8 trailers) from popular meaningful (n=8) or inspirational movies (n=8). Movies were deemed meaningful or inspiring based on a prior audience survey (Janicke, Raney, Oliver, & Dale, 2017). Results indicate some support for the main hypothesis: previously defined meaningful content elicited more meaningful emotions (i.e., feeling touched, moved) than inspiring emotions (ie., feeling elevated, inspired), but previously defined inspiring movies did not elicit more inspiring emotions than meaningful emotions. Meaningful movie clips elicited more negative affect than inspiring movie clips, whereas inspiring movies elicited more positive affect than meaningful clips. Both trailers and endings were perceived to be equally meaningful and sad, but trailers were perceived to be more inspirational and positive in nature. The findings are significant because they suggest that different types of emotional responses in eudaimonic media exist: meaningful emotions may be a response to both inspirational and meaningful media content, and inspiring content may be described as more positive, supporting previous research (Clayton et al., 2018). Overall, exploring differences in the effects of eudaimonic media content is valuable due to its role in attracting specific audiences and eliciting emotional responses.
Ima, Ashley, "Differences within Eudaimonic Media: Exploring how Meaningful and Inspirational Content Elicit Emotions" (2018). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 299.