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Mood and Technology

Currently, we are investigating how mood influences responses in the overall entertainment experience. We are specifically investigating the contribution of mood to entertainment while watching TV. The particular emphasis of our project is to assess mood fluctuates within episodic television viewing in natural environments, such as the home or theatre. To capture mood fluctuation, we give participants PDA’s to take home. Using EMA (Ecological Momentary Assessments), we are able to enhance some traditional ecological validity concerns of measuring mood and other entertainment-related constructs and obtaining more valid assessments in situ.

In recent years, scholars interested in unpacking the concept of entertainment have identified a number of key constructs to identify why we enjoy certain programs more than others. One of the most central concepts is mood management. That is, individuals tend to choose programs that will improve their mood. However, some scholars have pointed out that individuals sometimes choose programs that are consistent with current mood. For example, we may choose to watch tear-jerkers if we are in a sad mood because we can more readily identify with their perspective and situation. Few studies have examined moods in natural settings, such as the home or theater. Furthermore, within natural settings, there lacks valid measurements to assess how moods fluctuate within and across viewing situations. Currently, our research team is attempting to overcome these limitations by introducing PDAs as a viable means of collecting accurate data about mood regulation/mood management and its influence to being entertained. The PDAs are being used in a number of studies as an apparatus for collecting EMAs (Ecological Momentary Assessments). In addition to studying mood, we are also assessing other key constructs related to being entertained. Using similar methods, we are currently investigating the role of presence, character identification, genre, message characteristics, and gender as predictors for being entertained.

from 2005-10-25 to 2006-10-25
Prabu David


Ravaja, N., Saari, T., Kallinen, K., & Laarni, J. “The role of mood in the processing of media messages from a small screen: Effects on subjective and physiological responses. ”, Media Psychology, in press view

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