Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pass The Popcorn! Study Finds That Film Enjoyment Is Contagious

Date:
December 7, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Loud commentary and cell phone fumbling may be distracting, but new research suggests that the presence of other people may enhance our movie-watching experiences. Over the course of the film, movie-watchers influence one another and gradually synchronize their emotional responses. This mutual mimicry also affects each participant's evaluation of the overall experience -- the more in sync we are with the people around us, the more we like the movie.

Loud commentary and cell phone fumbling may be distracting, but new research suggests that the presence of other people may enhance our movie-watching experiences. Over the course of the film, movie-watchers influence one another and gradually synchronize their emotional responses. This mutual mimicry also affects each participant's evaluation of the overall experience -- the more in sync we are with the people around us, the more we like the movie.

"When asked how much they had liked the film, participants reported higher ratings the more their assessments lined up with the other person," explain Suresh Ramanathan and Ann L. McGill (both of the University of Chicago). "By mimicking expressions, people catch each other's moods leading to a shared emotional experience. That feels good to people and they attribute that good feeling to the quality of the movie."

In a series of experiments, the researchers had participants watch a video clip. Some of the participants watched alone, some with other people whose expressions could not be seen due to the presence of a partition, and some with other people whose expressions could be seen. The participants had a joystick they used to indicate their feelings at each moment.

While assessments did not line up by second--people liked or disliked specific scenes in the film according to their own tastes-- the researchers found that people watching a film together appeared to evaluate the film within the same broad mood, generally tracking up or generally tracking down. In another study, the researchers videotaped participants and found that synchrony of evaluations can be traced to glances at the other person during the film and adoption of the observed expressions.

The researchers explain: "Participants who looked at each other at the same time appeared to note whether the other person's face expressed the same or different emotion than their own. Perceived congruity of expressions caused participants to stick with their current emotional expression . . . Perceived incongruity, on the other hand, led to a dampening of subsequent expressions."

They continue: "Social effects described above were bi-directional suggesting that such influences were mutual rather than the result of a leader-follower pattern."

The researchers are the first to examine how a shared experience affects not just our immediate feelings, but also our overall impressions of the experience as a whole. The study is also the first to look at contagious emotions in a naturally developing relationship between two participants, differing from prior studies that used a planted person to express agreement or disagreement with the participant.

Journal reference: Suresh Ramanathan and Ann L. McGill, "Consuming with Others: Social Influences on Moment-to-Moment and Retrospective Evaluations of an Experience." Journal of Consumer Research: December 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Pass The Popcorn! Study Finds That Film Enjoyment Is Contagious." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204133730.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, December 7). Pass The Popcorn! Study Finds That Film Enjoyment Is Contagious. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204133730.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Pass The Popcorn! Study Finds That Film Enjoyment Is Contagious." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071204133730.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins