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 August 23, 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 August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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