Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Movies with gory, disgusting scenes more likely to capture, engage audience

Date:
June 12, 2014
Source:
International Communication Association
Summary:
People exposed to core disgusts (blood, guts, body products) showed higher levels of attention the more disgusting the content grew, even though they had negative reactions to the content. The findings suggested that socio-moral disgust-eliciting content elicited a slower response, characterized by one of initial attention and increasing negativity and arousal, and was remembered better before, at and after the onset of disgust. Both core disgusts saw more of an immediate negativity and defensive response.

We know it too well. We are watching a horror film and the antagonist is about to maim a character; we ball up, get ready for the shot and instead of turning away, we lean forward in the chair, then flinch and cover our eyes -- Jason strikes again! But what is going on in our body that drives us to this reaction, and why do we engage in it so readily? Recent research published in the Journal of Communication found that people exposed to core disgusts (blood, guts, body products) showed higher levels of attention the more disgusting the content grew even though they had negative reactions to the content.

Bridget Rubenking, University of Central Florida, and Annie Lang, Indiana University, published their findings in the Journal of Communication from an experiment with 120 participants. Participants watched TV/film clips of three distinct types of disgust: socio-moral, body product and death/gore. Rubenking and Lang measured participants' heart rate, facial expressions and skin moisture. After viewing they tested participants' memory for scenes presented in the messages; examined differences in individuals' memory and physiological levels of activity from before the onset of disgust in each clip to time points immediately after; and then compared the data across disgust types.

The findings suggested that socio-moral disgust-eliciting content elicited a slower response, characterized by one of initial attention and increasing negativity and arousal, and was remembered better before, at and after the onset of disgust. Both core disgusts saw more of an immediate negativity and defensive response. Body product disgusts in particular showed an initial defensive response pattern: Instead of eliciting immediate attention, the onset of body product disgusts elicited sharp increases in negativity and arousal, and an acceleration of heart rate, indicating that the content was at first too disgusting to pay attention to. Memory for content before the onset of disgust in the core disgust messages was at near-chance levels -- indicating that the disgust onset served as a cognitive interrupt and made participants forget what they had seen before it.

Memory improved at and after disgust onset across all disgust types, and heart rate showed a deeper deceleration over time, showing more attention being paid to the content. Together this data suggests that despite being fully aware of how disgusted they were, participants could not turn away from any of the disgusting content, and actually paid more attention the more disgusting the content got. This pattern was especially pronounced in response to the core disgusts.

"We often choose to view entertainment media to simply make ourselves feel good, and we also likely often choose entertainment media that will provide meaning, fulfillment and spark introspection. Despite whatever motives encouraged the decision to watch or not watch, this study demonstrates that when we're watching entertainment content that introduces specific types of disgust, our bodies react as being disgusted, and we can articulate that we are disgusted by the content," said Rubenking. "However, we pay more attention once disgust is introduced and we remember the content with disgust better, making it a smart device for content creators to use, in moderation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Communication Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bridget Rubenking, Annie Lang. Captivated and Grossed Out: An Examination of Processing Core and Sociomoral Disgusts in Entertainment Media. Journal of Communication, 2014; 64 (3): 543 DOI: 10.1111/jcom.12094

Cite This Page:

International Communication Association. "Movies with gory, disgusting scenes more likely to capture, engage audience." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142350.htm>.
International Communication Association. (2014, June 12). Movies with gory, disgusting scenes more likely to capture, engage audience. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142350.htm
International Communication Association. "Movies with gory, disgusting scenes more likely to capture, engage audience." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142350.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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