Article

Poignancy and Mediated Wisdom of Experience: Narrative Impacts on Willingness to Accept Delayed Rewards

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Abstract

Research on the impact of eudaimonic narrative has begun to identify a variety of psychologically and socially important outcomes. In the present study, we conceptually and operationally distinguish three distinctive responses to eudaimonic narrative: moral elevation, being emotionally moved, and poignancy. We, following work by Hershfield and colleagues (Ersner-Hershfield, Mikels, Sullivan, & Carstensen, 2008), suggest that poignancy, or a combination of sadness and happiness in response to life or narrative events, represents a recognition and acceptance of life’s transience and mixed joys and sorrows. Evocation of poignancy by eudaimonic narrative, then, should elicit responses associated with age, life experience, and maturity, which we refer to as “mediated wisdom of experience.” We find that brief eudaimonic video clips, compared with similar non-eudaimonic clips, increase acceptance of delayed rewards (i.e., reduced delay discounting, which has been found to be associated with maturity and negatively associated with risky and unsafe behavior in prior research), indirectly via the impact of these clips on poignant responses. In contrast, being emotionally moved showed an indirect path leading to decreased acceptance of delayed rewards, whereas moral elevation had no mediating effect.

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... In the past few years, there has been increasing attention to the possible salutary impact of experiencing such stories. The kind of outcomes that are being associated with experiencing eudaimonic stories are of profound importance to the quality of human life: increased capacity for empathetic awareness of others (Kidd & Castano, 2013); reduced need to defend oneself against the threat of death (Rieger et al., 2015); and increased willingness to accept delayed rewards (i.e., reduced delay discounting; Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). ...
... Eudaimonic stories, we argued, convey via narrative a vicarious experience of life and loss: the reader or viewer, in a matter of hours, experiences what otherwise takes a lifetime. We refer to this possible phenomenon as the mediated wisdom of experience (Slater et al., 2016). ...
... SST and mediated wisdom of experience As noted above, in prior research we found evidence that exposure to eudaimonic narratives reduces delay discounting; that is, participants exposed to even very brief eudaimonic video clips were more likely to accept delayed rewards than persons exposed to comparable clips that were less eudaimonic (Slater et al., 2016). Delay discountingaccepting a greater reward in the future compared to a lesser one immediately-is a construct (sometimes also referred to as temporal discounting) used in behavioral economics and psychology that is predictive of impulsive and risky behaviors such as substance use (Bickel & Marsch, 2001;Bickel et al., 1999;Reynolds, 2006). ...
Article
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This experiment, using excerpts from three Hollywood films, indicates that eudaimonic (meaningful) narratives increase willingness to accept delayed rewards (i.e., reduce delay discounting) and acceptance of death, mediated by the effect of eudaimonic narratives on perceived closeness to future self. Our findings provide support for the argument, and its derivation from socio-emotional selectivity theory, that the vicarious experience of life’s transience and sources of meaning in eudaimonic narratives has an impact parallel to that of lived experience, which we call the mediated wisdom of experience. We did not find support for proposed interactions with a written reflection exercise.
... meaning and purpose in life (Oliver & Bartsch, 2010;Vorderer, 2016;Vorderer & Reinecke, 2015). Increasingly, researchers have examined possible outcomes of exposure to eudaimonic media, such as reduction in death anxiety and willingness to accept delayed rewards (Rieger et al., 2015;Slater et al., 2016Slater et al., , 2018. Studies of the possible effects of consuming eudaimonic media, however, have typically relied on forced exposure experimental designs, use of relatively brief excerpts from longer narratives, use of immediate posttests, and a focus on outcome measures that are informative psychologically, but removed from the outcomes audience members are most likely to seek from eudaimonic media. ...
... Previous studies have focused on effects of eudaimonic media content on outcomes such as delay discounting and death acceptance that were argued as being associated with greater maturity, in a phenomenon referred to as Mediated Wisdom of Experience (Slater et al., 2016(Slater et al., , 2018. In this study, as explained above, we are interested primarily in subjective benefits of exposure to such content. ...
... We regard such a recognition as a fundamental component of human maturity. The subjective experience of wisdom and maturity gained through the media experience is intrinsically beneficial, and as such may be viewed as a logical extension of the Mediated Wisdom of Experience perspective (Slater et al., 2016(Slater et al., , 2018. That is to say, acceptance of the human condition seeks to more directly capture some of the mechanism through which such wisdom is mediated -a greater recognition of the complexities of human experience, and its inherent meaningwhich is typically accrued over the course of one's life, but which also can be occasioned through mediated experience. ...
Article
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The present study examines the self-reported impact of viewing more versus less eudaimonic Hollywood films using a retrospective study design. We investigate the role of three novel constructs in understanding people’s lived experience of eudaimonic narratives. These include two outcomes: acceptance of the human condition, or the perception that a film helped the viewer accept that inevitable challenges in life contribute to a meaningful existence, and viewers’ self-report of the film’s impact on their ability to make sense of life’s difficulties. The third is a mediator: emotional range, or the breadth of emotions experienced during media exposure. Findings indicate that more eudaimonic films can increase viewers’ ability to make sense of difficulties, their acceptance of the human condition, and their motivation to pursue moral goals, relative to less eudaimonic films, thereby extending the Mediated Wisdom of Experience perspective. These effects are mediated by feelings of elevation, and in some cases by poignancy and emotional range. Additionally, value congruence between participants and the film viewed increases perceptions that the film helped them make sense of difficulties, their acceptance of the human condition, and their motivation to pursue moral goals, irrespective of whether the film was a more or less eudaimonic one.
... On a related note, our work is based on the framework of six basic emotions (Ekman & Cordano, 2011) as a meaningful theoretical foundation for analyzing recipient responses. This theory and the AFC software that was developed based on Ekman's work do not readily incorporate the experience of mixed affect, most notably the experiences of being moved, of appreciation, or of poignancy (e.g., Cova & Deonna, 2014;Menninghaus et al., 2015;Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2019;Oliver & Bartsch, 2010;Oliver et al., 2018). As the latter theory and research demonstrates, many movies and written stories elicit some form of mixed affectand in all likelihood, our stimulus film is no exception. ...
... The poignancy indicator was positively 3 The work by Ersner-Hershfield and colleagues(2008)shows that the co-occurrence of happiness and sadness is a preferable indicator of poignancy, as compared to other indices combining happiness and sadness. Following extant research(Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2008;Slater et a., 2019), poignancy was calculated as the minimum of happiness scores and sadness scores during the scene. For example, if the average happiness score for the scene was 0.07 and the sadness score was 0.09, the participant scored 0.07 on poignancy. ...
Article
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Listening to, reading, or watching a story is often a highly emotional experience. The current experiment was designed to gain insight into the role of emotions as part of the persuasive influence of stories. Our focus was on emotions that correspond to a storyline (event-congruent emotions). A short movie was presented that depicts the struggles of a limbless man who ultimately performs a successful circus act. Recipients’ mindsets regarding human potential to improve (growth mindset and fixed mindset) served as the dependent variables. Six emotional scenes over the course of the movie were pre-selected to examine the occurrence and effect of event-congruent emotions. Transportation into the story-world was manipulated via reviews of the movie. Participants’ emotional experience was assessed with a software that measures and classifies emotional facial expressions in the moment they occur. After reading a positive review, participants reported to be more transported into the short film. This was related to more intense event-congruent emotions during the key-scene of the film, which, in turn, was positively related to recipients’ growth mindset. Implications regarding the importance of event-congruent-emotions for narrative persuasion are discussed.
... In recent theorising on entertainment experience, the distinction between eudaimonic and hedonic gratifications has come to the fore (Oliver & Bartsch, 2010;Oliver & Raney, 2011;Slater, Oliver & Appel, 2016;Wirth, Hofer & Schramm, 2012). Consumers of entertainment may be primarily interested in enjoying and deriving pleasure from their entertainment choice: they seek hedonic gratification. ...
... They wish to consume media that provide them with a sense of deeper meaning and a feeling of being moved by this experience (Oliver & Bartsch, 2010). Whereas hedonic media offerings 2 thus primarily give rise to positive affect, feelings of pleasure, excitement and enjoyment, the eudaimonic variety is more likely to lead to a sense of poignancy (mixed affect) and deeper understanding of the meaning of life and the human condition (Slater et al., 2016). Responses to the two types of media are distinct in affect, in bodily reactions, the type of value recognised in the stories, and the extent to which they motivate changes in behaviour (e.g., Oliver et al., 2012). ...
... In contrast, eudaimonic entertainment experiences typically consist of mixed affect (i.e., co-occurrence of positive and negative emotions; Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2019), contemplative reflection and increased cognitive activity (Bartsch & Hartmann, 2017;Oliver & Hartmann, 2010), enhanced appreciation (Oliver & Bartsch, 2010), and psychological well-being. Such experiences are characterized as meaningful, poignant, or touching. ...
... The combination of positive and negative emotions has been discussed in several ways in the media psychology literature. As noted above, Oliver and Bartsch (2010) and Slater et al. (2019), among others, have argued that mixed affect is a common characteristic of eudaimonic content reception, a response that is often referred to as poignancy (Ersner-Hershfield, Mikels, Sullivan, & Carstensen, 2008). Nabi and Green (2015) argued that mixed affect should foster continued attention to a message, leading to increased narrative and character engagement. ...
Article
Self-transcendent media experiences are thought to involve cognitive engagement and mixed affect, leading to psychological well-being. The current study investigated whether these characteristics were reflected in viewers’ psychophysiological responses and sharing intentions. Multilevel model analyses revealed that viewers (n = 57) allocated more cognitive resources to encoding (heart rate), experienced greater physiological arousal (skin conductance level), and less positive but greater negative affect (facial electromyography), and were more motivated to share content (prosociality) when exposed to self-transcendent videos relative to humorous videos. Moreover, specific self-transcendent portrayals (appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, and hope) elicited greater cognitive effort and mixed affect relative to the average response of these videos. In line with emotional flow, cognitive resources increased after the transformational scene in each self-transcendent video, which was accompanied by a negative-to-positive emotional trajectory shift wherein negative emotion remained statistically the same but positive emotion increased. The current study provides initial evidence for theoretical development into the ways that self-transcendent content and narrative structure influence cognitive and affective responses and prosocial intentions.
... Hedonic happiness refers to the presence of positive affect and absence of negative affect, whereas eudaimonic happiness or meaningfulness refers to the fulfillment that one experiences when perceiving insights about life purpose, life meanings, and to the feelings of flourishing that accompany living a life that embodies virtue (Hofer et al., 2014;Oliver & Bartsch, 2011;Oliver & Raney, 2011;Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016;Wirth, Hofer, & Schramm, 2012). In view of this distinction in media research, it seems worthwhile to elucidate the effects of persuasive messages that appeal to the goal of hedonic happiness versus the goal of eudaimonic happiness. ...
... Therefore, future persuasion research could examine the effects of appeals that highlight conflicting emotions (as in Williams & Aaker, 2002) and should consider mixed emotional responses and poignancy as mediators or dependent variables (as in Slater et al., 2016). ...
Article
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Socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) warrants the strong prediction that older adults respond more favorably to emotionally-meaningful versus knowledge-related appeals in persuasive messages, whereas younger adults lack this bias. However, potentially due to multivocality in conceptualizations and operationalizations of these appeals, previous studies found no uniform support for these age differences. Consequently, this article aims to provide a conceptualization and operationalization of emotionally-meaningful versus knowledge-related appeals that can be used in future research. The study consists of a conceptualization phase (literature review; expert meetings) and an operationalization phase (content analysis of persuasive messages). We developed a theoretically valid and reliable coding instrument, outlining three dimensions of emotionally-meaningful appeals (emotion regulation, optimizing the present, close social relationships) and three dimensions of knowledge-related appeals (knowledge acquisition, optimizing the future, novel social relationships). This instrument is intended to guide the selection and design of persuasive messages in effect studies that aim to test hypotheses derived from SST.
... Eudaimonic narratives should pose a challenge for persons high in narcissism, psychopathy, and/or Machiavellianism. Eudaimonic narratives result in emotions such as being moved, inspired, and touched (Oliver & Raney, 2011; and experiencing poignant responses (Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). These emotions are essentially empathetic, involving recognition of universalities of human experience: love, loss, the transience of life itself (Slater et al., 2016;Slater, Oliver, Appel, Tchernev, & Silver, 2017). ...
... Eudaimonic narratives result in emotions such as being moved, inspired, and touched (Oliver & Raney, 2011; and experiencing poignant responses (Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). These emotions are essentially empathetic, involving recognition of universalities of human experience: love, loss, the transience of life itself (Slater et al., 2016;Slater, Oliver, Appel, Tchernev, & Silver, 2017). Such responses inherently involve recognition of the humanity of others. ...
Article
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We propose that the dark triad of personality predicts how recipients respond to eudaimonic narratives (stories dealing with purpose in life, the human condition, and human virtue). Matched eudaimonic or non-eudaimonic videos were presented via random assignment. The more individuals lack empathy and organize their world around self-promotion – reflected in the so-called dark triad of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy – the more they perceived the eudaimonic stories (vs. control) to be inauthentic and corny (perceived corniness). This effect translated to a more negative overall evaluation of the eudaimonic videos (moderated mediation). Self-reported feelings of being touched, moved, and inspired (meaningful affect) were largely unaffected by the dark triad, suggesting that these personality factors do not disable emotional responses to eudaimonic narratives.
... Regarding inward-oriented responses, meaningful media can trigger affective responses of elevation, that is, the feeling of being moved, inspired and touched. Oliver et al. (2012) provided evidence that elevation is associated with mixed affect, that is, the co-occurrence of positive and negative affect (Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2008;Slater et al., 2016). It was also associated with certain physical indicators, such as having a lump in the throat, chills, or tears (Oliver et al., 2012). ...
... Meaningful affect (α = .94; Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016), positive affect (α = .94; Oliver & Bartsch, 2010), and negative affect (α = .93; ...
Article
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This study extends the existing sport management literature by examining how meaningful sports consumption could be conceptualized differently based on self-construal. In particular, we demonstrate that from a self-oriented perspective, highlighting the extraordinary skills of athletes makes sports consumption meaningful, whereas from an other-oriented perspective, highlighting the moral-excellence of athletes makes sports consumption meaningful. The results of two experiments indicated that sports consumers experienced different types of affective responses, self-transcendent emotions (admiration vs. elevation), motivations (self-improvement vs. compassionate love), and behavioral consequences (improving professional skills vs. helping others), depending on the type of sports consumption (skill-based meaningful vs. moral-based meaningful vs. hedonic), and the self-construal mindset (independent vs. interdependent).
... Firstly, meaningful media experiences let people have complex affective responses that are touching or moving (Oliver, 2008), as opposed to hedonic experiences that are mostly associated with (basic) positive emotions. Moreover, meaningful media experiences often generate mixed affects, reflecting the idea that human lives are filled with both beauty and tragedy (Oliver, Ferchaud, Yang, Huang, & Bailey, 2017;Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). Secondly, meaningful media experiences are associated with higher levels of cognitive effort and processing, as they are often elicited by complex and multiple storylines or morally ambiguous characters (Bartsch & Hartmann, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
Research shows that media entertainment can induce meaningful experiences, such as being emotionally moved or being stimulated to reflect about oneself. While these studies have primarily focused on traditional entertainment media (such as movies) and adults, the current study explores whether games can lead to eudaimonic or meaningful experiences amongst adolescents. The literature suggests that games might indeed generate more than hedonic experiences, as they have the potential to provide players with emotionally deep stories, characters, and moral choices. Studying meaningful game experiences amongst adolescents is especially relevant, given games’ popularity amongst this age group and their potentially positive contribution to certain developmental changes adolescents go through. To explore adolescents’ descriptions of meaningful game experiences, how they are linked to developmental needs and generated by specific game characteristics, we performed a qualitative study existing of six focus groups (N=33) and 20 individual in-depth interviews (total N=53). Results indicate that adolescents do experience meaningful game moments, defining these as social, emotional and reflective experiences connecting to real life. Furthermore, these experiences are related to forming new friendships and intensifying existing ones (social changes), reflecting on themselves and society (perspective-taking), experiencing positively touching game moments (emotional changes) and morally elevating game experiences (moral changes). Adolescents also mentioned the game’s story, characters, other real players, moral choices, graphics, and soundtracks as important elicitors of meaningful game experiences. Limitations and further research implications are further discussed.
... The Mediated Wisdom of Experience perspective (MWOE: Slater, Oliver & Appel, 2016;Slater, Oliver, Appel, Tchernev, & Silver, 2018) argues that eudaimonic narratives in particular should operate similarly on their audiences. To view or read a eudaimonic narrative, typically, is to vicariously experience change, loss, the preciousness and fragility of life and relationships, and the inevitable movement of the lifespan. ...
... We adapted existing three-item scales to measure positive (α = 0.97; e.g., fun and entertaining; Bartsch and Hartmann, 2017;Oliver and Bartsch, 2010) and meaningful affects (α = 0.96; e.g., meaningful and moving; Slater et al., 2016). Additionally, negative affect was measured using a four-item scale (α = 0.85; e.g., sad and gloomy; Krämer et al., 2016). ...
Article
Sharing has become one of the most prevalent behaviors in the online environment as the rise of social media enables individuals to share content (e.g., videos and pictures) more easily with others on social networking sites. Sharing has been mainly investigated from a reciprocal standpoint (exchange-based sharing), and there has been a lack of effort to expand our knowledge of sharing from prosocial and morality perspectives. In this regard, based on the dual process theory and the dual model of entertainment media, the current study examines the role of elevation in determining individuals’ online sharing and information searching behaviors. The results indicate that participants exhibited greater intentions to share a meaningful video online and search for more information about the actor compared with a hedonic video (Experiment 1), and this effect was further moderated by participants’ moral identity (Experiment 2) and different mindsets associated with a prosocial action (beneficiary vs. benefactor; Experiment 3). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed related to online sharing and entertainment media literature.
... Regarding inward-oriented responses, meaningful media can trigger affective responses of elevation, that is, the feeling of being moved, inspired and touched. Oliver et al. (2012) provided evidence that elevation is associated with mixed affect, that is, the co-occurrence of positive and negative affect (Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2008;Slater et al., 2016). It was also associated with certain physical indicators, such as having a lump in the throat, chills, or tears (Oliver et al., 2012). ...
Article
Previous research reported that meaningful entertainment experiences are associated with elevation, mixed affect, physical indicators, and moral motivations. The importance of values, particularly altruistic values and self-transcendence, was thought to play a central role. Although the importance of values has been found to vary across cultures, little research so far has examined cultural variations in the response towards meaningful entertainment. The present study, therefore, investigated how cultural variations in self-construals and the importance of values (self-enhancement, conservation, and self-transcendence) in movies are related to meaningful entertainment experiences. An online experiment in Germany and the United Arab Emirates (N= 245) confirmed that meaningful entertainment elicited elevation. Elevation was associated with conservation and self-transcendence values and, via this path, increased moral motivations. An interdependent self-construal was related to elevation and to moral motivations. The results are discussed in light of current conceptualizations of inward- and outward-oriented gratifications of meaningful entertainment and the impact of values
... Mixed emotions such as poignancy (mixed happiness and sadness) therefore are also likely to arise from eudaimonic narratives that deal with loss as well as positive human experience and may mediate such effects (Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2019). Additionally, a recent study (Ott et al., 2020) found that emotional range, referred to as the breadth of total affect experienced as a result of the narrative, may assess mixed affect in a broader way and also may serve as a more robust mediator of eudaimonic narrative effects than does poignancy: ...
Article
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Using the mediated wisdom of experience (MWOE) theoretical framework, this study examines how eudaimonic testimonials versus comparable didactic presentations, and the presence or absence of modeling target behavior, influence death acceptance and intentions to converse about end-of-life care preferences. Effects for testimonials on attitudes and behaviors proved contingent on modeling. When testimonials incorporated modeled behavior, individuals were more likely to intend to carry out conversations about end-of-life conversations. However, when the testimonials did not provide modeled examples of conversations about death, individuals were more likely to experience anxiety and less likely to intend to engage in such conversations. Mediation analyses found that testimonials indirectly increased attitudes and intentions to have end-of-life conversations through emotional range and death acceptance. Mediation analyses also indicated modeling such conversations increased attitudes and intentions toward having end-of-life conversations via identification and self-efficacy.
... This core of meaningfulness has been described in the literature as inherent ambivalence or combination of both positive and negative interpersonal experiences as part of the human condition (e.g.; Rieger, 2017). Second, it elucidates meaningfulness to be a "bittersweet" experience (Oliver, 2008) and to be related to mixed affective states (Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2008;Slater et al., 2016). ...
Article
Research on eudaimonic media has so far predominantly focused on audiovisual offerings: movies or YouTube video clips. However, much meaningful and inspiring content nowadays is uploaded on social media in so-called memes. Three exploratory studies therefore investigated the occurrence, content, and effects of inspiring and meaningful memes in social media: The hashtags of eudaimonic memes were analyzed in semantic networks (study 1), a content analysis was conducted to typologize eudaimonic themes addressed in memes (study 2), and an online survey investigated the effects of eudaimonic memes on users (study 3). The results suggest that previously defined topics of inspiration and meaningfulness are also common among hashtags and memes and lead to the same beneficial effects for their consumers. The discussion aims at advancing the theory of mediated eudaimonia and understanding its relevance for well-being in the daily lives of social media users.
... Media usage characterized by appreciation leads to multilayered, even bipolar feelings (positive and negative), such as the state of feeling moved, inspired, touched, melancholy or stricken at the same time. Such feelings are referred to as tender affective states (Oliver, 2008), meaningful affect (Oliver, Hartmann, & Woolley, 2012), mixed emotions (Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2008) or poignancy (Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). Finally, based on research by Ryff (1989) and Waterman (1993) Wirth, Hofer, andSchramm (2012) conceive eudaimonic entertainment experiences as a multi-dimensional concept consisting of a feeling of (1) relatedness, (2) activation of central values, (3) autonomy, (4) competence, and (5) self-acceptance and purpose in life. ...
... Moreover, episodes of moral elevation are associated with self-reported warm feelings in the chest, with 'tingling' feelings and with a desire to be a better person (Thomson & Siegel, 2017). Moral elevation can be induced through movies (Oliver, Hartmann, & Woolley, 2012;Waddell, Bailey, & Davis, 2017), online videos (Krämer et al., 2017), advertisements (Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2019), narratives in texts and television (Freeman et al., 2009) and Facebook posts (Dale et al., 2020). The elevating stimuli can facilitate helping behaviour (Freeman et al., 2009;Schnall et al., 2010;Van de Vyver & Abrams, 2015), reduce prejudice (Krämer et al., 2017;Lai, Haidt, & Nosek, 2014;Oliver et al., 2015), and increase proenvironmental behaviour intentions (Moreton, Arena, Hornsey, Crimston, & Tiliopoulos, 2019). ...
Article
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Based on a review of eudaimonic emotion concepts, definitional and empirical overlaps between the concepts are identified and a framework of eudaimonic emotions is developed. The framework proposes that feelings of elevation, awe, tenderness, and being moved can be differentiated based on their feeling components, thus constituting the feeling-specific types of eudaimonic emotions. A variety of other emotion concepts rely on reference to their elicitors, such as moral elevation (i.e., being moved by moral virtue), aesthetic awe (i.e., being moved by beauty), kama muta (i.e., being moved by communal sharing) and admiration (i.e., being moved by achievements), thus constituting elicitor-specific types of eudaimonic emotions. Structuring eudaimonic emotions along these lines allows for integrating research on these emotions. This integration leads to the proposition of general eudaimonic effects and value-specific effects of positive eudaimonic emotions on behaviour. Considering these effects can enhance understanding of how positive eudaimonic emotions affect pro-social intentions-the bright side of being moved-as well as the manipulating effects of propaganda-the dark side of being moved.
... Part of what makes eudaimonic narratives meaningful is that they support viewers and readers in contemplating that which is normally avoided. Eudaimonic enjoyment is induced by confronting and processing painful truths about the self, outside reality, and the fragility and preciousness of human life (Bartsch & Schneider, 2014;Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2019). This can be seen as an opportunity for the employment of eudaimonia in journalism that equally often describes difficult events and complex issues with no easy answers. ...
Article
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Live journalism is a new journalistic genre in which journalists present news stories to a live audience. This article investigates the journalistic manuscripts of live journalism performances. With the focus on texts, the article reaches beyond the live performance to explore the wider implications and potentials pioneered by live journalists. The data were gathered from Musta laatikko (‘Black Box’) manuscripts, a live journalism production by the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat . The manuscripts were analysed as eudaimonic journalism through four conceptual dimensions: self-transcendence, autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The results show how eudaimonic journalism can contemplate history, the future, and the meaning of finite human life. Moreover, by describing self-determinant individuals and communal social relationships, eudaimonic news stories can foster a sense of meaning and agency in audience members. By employing eudaimonia, journalists at large can reflect on the meaning and purpose of contemporary life and offer a more comprehensive understanding of the world. Such understanding includes not only facts and analysis, but also values, affects, and collective meanings mediated through the subjectivity of a journalist.
... Perhaps as a reaction to entertainment scholarship historically focused on hedonic responses, early research on meaningful media frequently focused on negatively valenced reactions such as sadness or grief. More recently, however, scholars are increasingly noting that meaningful media experiences may involve more complex affective responses that are better characterized by words such as touched, moved, tender, or poignant (Oliver, 2008), or by the experience of mixed affect (Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). For example, when watching a love story or romance (e.g., Sleepless in Seattle, 1993), viewers may report feeling "bittersweet" or touched by the love story. ...
Article
Interest in the meaningful sides of media entertainment has blossomed over the last decade, with numerous scholars examining how certain media content can enhance social good and well-being. Because social scientific work in this area is relatively new and is rapidly evolving, numerous conceptualizations of meaningful media experiences have been introduced. In this paper we argue for the importance of recognizing a unique form of media experience that causes us to look beyond our own concerns, to recognize moral beauty, and to feel unity with humanity and nature—what we label here as “self-transcendent media experiences.”
... Thus, while hedonism generally involves people feeling positive emotions such as excitement, eudaimonia is often associated with what Oliver (2008) has termed "tender affective states" wherein people feel emotions such as tenderness, compassion, empathy, elevation, hope, and even a sublime sense of awe (Oliver, 2008;Oliver et al., 2018; see also Raney, Oliver, & Bartsch, 2019;Slater, Oliver, & Appel, 2016). People also respond cognitively to eudaimonic experiences by engaging in processes such as meaning making, emotional reappraisal, elaboration, and contemplation (Oliver & Bartsch, 2010, 2011; see also Raney et al., 2019). ...
... While in some respects it does refer to story or content, it can also be conceptualized as providing a frame or structure to media messages (Green et al., 2019). Research shows that narrative structure leads to increased emotional response across multiple media formats and contexts including broadcast and print news (Lang et al., 2003), film, television, and online videos (Slater et al., 2019), video games (Schneider et al., 2004), advertising (Shin et al., 2008), and health communication (Dunlop et al., 2008). For example, among linear, reversal, and inverted narrative structure, participants reported greater reading enjoyment with linear and reversal types both in print news and novels (Knobloch et al., 2004). ...
Chapter
Much of media effects research examines the influence of content on people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Adopting a dimensional view of emotion, this chapter reviews how formal features and presentation attributes (i.e., noncontent attributes) of print and broadcast media affect emotions. Attributes such as color, motion, pacing, screen size, and image quality are discussed in terms of the affective responses they elicit and alter. The impact of many of these attributes can be understood in terms of the limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing. By examining the role that form and presentation play in modulating the amplitude and direction of our emotional responses to media, the chapter contributes to a more holistic and cognitively oriented approach to understanding media influence.
... Based on the considerations on mixed affective responses known from eudaimonic movies (e.g. bitter-sweetness, also called poignancy, Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2008;Slater et al., 2019), we aimed at investigating users' emotions when being confronted with a meme, both in terms of affect dimensionality and affect strength. A user survey (Rieger and Klimmt, 2019) had revealed that the dimensional quality of affective responses of users confronted with an inspirational meme seems to display the same configuration as audience reactions to eudaimonic movies. ...
Article
Recent work on eudaimonic media entertainment has demonstrated that not only movies carry meaningful or inspiring topics but also content that is usually uploaded online, such as YouTube videos or memes in social media. Although past research found beneficial effects of eudaimonic movies for psychosocial well-being and motivational intentions, the daily audience of eudaimonic online fare has not been investigated yet. This article reports first findings from a survey (N = 2777), representative of German Internet users. Specifically, it addresses the question of (daily) encounters with eudaimonic memes, remembered topics, emotional and motivational effects with a focus on gender differences. The results reveal that many social media users consume “small doses” of eudaimonic content on a regular basis and experience similar, yet weaker, emotional consequences of such exposure. These findings are discussed in light of eudaimonic entertainment and positive media psychology.
Article
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Recent approaches in entertainment research have extended the scope from hedonic gratifications (fun, suspense) to meaningful and thought-provoking entertainment experiences (appreciation). The present research examines the cross-national measurement validity of these theoretical constructs by testing the factorial structure of the German version of the Appreciation, Fun, and Suspense scales developed by Oliver and Bartsch (2010). Measurement invariance of the scales across US-American (N = 262) and German (N = 274) samples is examined by reanalyzing data sets from two published studies. Findings support the theoretically assumed three-factorial model of the German scale and partial scalar invariance across samples. In addition, exploratory analyses of a third data set (N = 200) revealed that an alternative wording for an item of the Suspense scale may be superior.
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[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 25(4) of Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications (see record 2013-39336-006). The article contained an error in the running head. The corrected running head is provided in the erratum.] Appreciation is an audience response associated with entertainment portrayals concerned with the meaning of life and human existence. Appreciation has been shown to be conceptually and empirically different from enjoyment, which is characterized as pleasure and fun. Drawing upon terror management theory, this research investigates first the influence of reminders of one’s own death on appreciation and enjoyment of a meaningful film and second, the influence of the search for meaning in one’s life on these outcomes. Results of an experimental study (N = 60) showed that mortality salience increased appreciation of a meaningful film, but only for those who rated highly for search for meaning in life. Concerning enjoyment, a reverse pattern was found: Participants who intensely search for meaning in their lives enjoyed the film when their own mortality had not been made salient before watching. Results are discussed in the light of theoretical considerations about entertainment experiences and meaning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
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Previous studies have found a positive relationship between exposure to fiction and interpersonal sensitivity. However, it is unclear whether exposure to different genres of fiction may be differentially related to these outcomes for readers. The current study investigated the role of four fiction genres (i.e., Domestic Fiction, Romance, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, and Suspense/Thriller) in the relationship between fiction and interpersonal sensitivity, controlling for other individual differences. Participants completed a survey that included a lifetime print-exposure measure along with an interpersonal sensitivity task. Some, but not all, fiction genres were related to higher scores on our measure of interpersonal sensitivity. Furthermore, after controlling for personality, gender, age, English fluency, and exposure to nonfiction, only the Romance and Suspense/Thriller genres remained significant predictors of interpersonal sensitivity. The findings of this study demonstrate that in discussing the influence of fiction print-exposure on readers it is important to consider the genre of the literature being consumed.
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People who feel continuity with their future selves are more likely to behave in ethically responsible ways as compared to people who lack continuity with their future selves. We find that individual differences in perceived similarity to one's future self predicts tolerance of unethical business decisions (Studies la and 1b), and that the consideration of future consequences mediates the extent to which people regard inappropriate negotiation strategies as unethical (Study 2). We reveal that low future self-continuity predicts unethical behavior in the form of lies, false promises, and cheating (Studies 3 and 4), and that these relationships hold when controlling for general personality dimensions and trait levels of self-control (Study 4). Finally, we establish a causal relationship between future self-continuity and ethical judgments by showing that when people are prompted to focus on their future self (as opposed to the future), they express more disapproval of unethical behavior (Study 5).
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This article addresses the conceptualization and definition of message variables in persuasion effects research. Two central claims are advanced. First, effect-based message variable definitions (in which a message variation is defined in terms of effects on psychological states, as when fear appeal variations are defined on the basis of differences in aroused fear) impede progress in understanding persuasion processes and effects and hence should be avoided in favor of definitions expressed in terms of intrinsic message features. Second, when message variations are defined in terms of intrinsic features, message manipulation checks, under that description, are unnecessary but similar measures may usefully be understood and analyzed as assessments of potential mediating states.
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In this chapter, the hedonistic premise of mood-management theory is examined and expanded to account for seemingly nonhedonistic choices of media content. Counterhedonistic message selection is considered in the context of selective-exposure theory. Informational utility is invoked as a choice-driving force that complements content selection. The confounded operation of hedonistic and informational choice determinants is detailed for various domains of communication. In particular, it is proposed that hedonistic motivation, as articulated in mood-management theory, dominates spontaneous entertainment choices, with nonhedonistic considerations being complementary to choice determination. The choice of educational and informational media content, in contrast, is thought to be dominated by considerations of informational utility, but also to entail noninformational anticipations. The integration of these and related choice determinants is emphasized for the development of comprehensive theories of selective exposure.
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Mental simulation, the process of self-projection into alternate temporal, spatial, social, or hypothetical realities is a distinctively human capacity. Numerous lines of research also suggest that the tendency for mental simulation is associated with enhanced meaning. The present research tests this association specifically examining the relationship between two forms of simulation (temporal and spatial) and meaning in life. Study 1 uses neuroimaging to demonstrate that enhanced connectivity in the medial temporal lobe network, a subnetwork of the brain's default network implicated in prospection and retrospection, correlates with self-reported meaning in life. Study 2 demonstrates that experimentally inducing people to think about the past or future versus the present enhances self-reported meaning in life, through the generation of more meaningful events. Study 3 demonstrates that experimentally inducing people to think specifically versus generally about the past or future enhances self-reported meaning in life. Study 4 turns to spatial simulation to demonstrate that experimentally inducing people to think specifically about an alternate spatial location (from the present location) increases meaning derived from this simulation compared to thinking generally about another location or specifically about one's present location. Study 5 demonstrates that experimentally inducing people to think about an alternate spatial location versus one's present location enhances meaning in life, through meaning derived from this simulation. Study 6 demonstrates that simply asking people to imagine completing a measure of meaning in life in an alternate location compared with asking them to do so in their present location enhances reports of meaning. This research sheds light on an important determinant of meaning in life and suggests that undirected mental simulation benefits psychological well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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Recent conceptualizations of eudaimonic entertainment and aesthetic experience highlight the role of emotions in stimulating rewarding experiences of insight, meaning, and reflectiveness among entertainment audiences. The current evidence is mainly correlational, however. This study used an experimental approach to examine the assumed causal influence of being moved, on reflective thoughts. Participants were randomly assigned to see one of two versions of a short film that elicited different levels of feeling moved, while keeping the cognitive, propositional content constant. Feeling moved was conceptualized and operationalized as an affective state characterized by negative valence, moderate arousal, mixed affect, and by the labeling of the experience in terms of feeling moved. As expected, the more moving film version elicited more reflective thoughts, which in turn predicted individuals’ overall positive experience of the film. The effect of the film stimulus on reflective thoughts was fully mediated b...
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We examine how viewers' narrative involvement is impacted by a character's membership in a highly stigmatized group. In particular, we explore how perspective‐taking with a character, a dimension of the identification construct (J. Cohen, 2001), influences in‐group/out‐group perception. Participants viewed 1 of 2 edited versions of the film Sherrybaby, where the main character was manipulated to be relatively more stigmatized (recovering drug addict) or less stigmatized (single mother). As predicted, participants differed with respect to perspective‐taking—the highly stigmatized character corresponded to less perspective‐taking. Furthermore, the mediation and moderation results lend support to the argument that perspective‐taking increases perceptions of in‐group belonging and is of particular importance in determining whether a narrative influences in‐group/out‐group perspectives.
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How do people feel when they experience bittersweet events comprised of pleasant and unpleasant aspects (e.g., good news accompanied by bad)? Just as acids immediately neutralize bases, some have suggested that bittersweet events' pleasant aspects might neutralize their unpleasant aspects, thereby resulting in fairly neutral emotional reactions. Some contemporary theorists also contend that happiness and sadness are mutually exclusive. We review research on the alternative possibility that bittersweet events can elicit pairs of opposite-valence, mixed emotions, with particularly close attention to the growing body of evidence that people can feel happy and sad at the same time while watching films, listening to music, and experiencing meaningful endings. We also review evidence that people sometimes experience other types of mixed emotions, including disgust accompanied by amusement and fear by enjoyment. Taken together, these data indicate that positive and negative affect are separable in experience.
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The independence of delay-discounting rate and monetary reward size was tested by offering subjects (N = 621) a series of choices between immediate rewards and larger, delayed rewards. In contrast to previous studies, in which hypothetical rewards have typically been employed, subjects in the present study were entered into a lottery in which they had a chance of actually receiving one of their choices. The delayed rewards were grouped into small ($30-$35), medium ($55-$65), and large amounts ($70-$85). Using a novel parameter estimation procedure, we estimated discounting rates for all three reward sizes for each subject on the basis of his/her pattern of choices. The data indicated that the discounting rate is a decreasing function of the size of the delayed reward (p < .0001), whether hyperbolic or exponential discounting functions are assumed. In addition, a reliable gender difference was found (p = .005), with males discounting at higher rates than females, on average.
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In this article I argue that although the notion of identification with media characters is widely discussed in media research, it has not been carefully conceptualized or rig- orously tested in empirical audience studies. This study presents a theoretical discus- sion of identification, including a definition of identification and a discussion of the consequences of identification with media characters for the development of identity and socialization processes. It is suggested that a useful distinction can be made be- tween identification and other types of reactions that media audiences have to media characters. A critical look at media research involving identification exposes the in- herent conceptual problems in this research and leads to hypotheses regarding the antecedents and consequences of identification with media characters. The impor - tance of a theory of identification to media research and communication research, more broadly, is presented. When reading a novel or watching a film or a television program, audience members often become absorbed in the plot and identify with the characters portrayed. Unlike the more distanced mode of reception—that of spectatorship—identification is a mechanism through which audience members experience reception and interpreta- tion of the text from the inside, as if the events were happening to them. Identification is tied to the social effects of media in general (e.g., Basil, 1996; Maccoby & Wilson, 1957); to the learning of violence from violent films and television, specifically (Huesmann, Lagerspetz, & Eron, 1984); and is a central mechanism for explaining such effects. As Morley (1992) said: "One can hardly imagine any television text having any effect whatever without that identification" (p. 209). The most promi-
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The persuasive effects of emotions have been the focus of burgeoning interest in recent years. Rather than considering how emotions function within traditional paradigms of attitude change, this research explores the possibility that emotions serve as frames for issues, privileging certain information in terms of accessibility and thus guiding subsequent decision making. This study's results offer evidence that fear and anger can differentially affect information accessibility, desired information seeking, and policy preference, though these effects may be contingent on schema development. These findings support not only the relationship between emotions and frames but also the importance of the discrete emotion perspective in persuasive contexts.
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An experiment investigated emotional reactions to news on policy support. Stimuli were selected from a nationally representative sample of local crime/accident news, and a nationally representative online panel of U.S. adults. Stories were manipulated to mention or not mention the role of alcohol. Anger elicited by stories increased blame of individuals, whereas fear increased consideration of contributing societal factors. Mention of alcohol increased likelihood of different emotional responses dominating--greater anger when alcohol was mentioned and greater fear when not mentioned. Such emotions influence policy support: enforcement of existing laws controlling individual behavior in addition to new laws when anger predominated, and, indirectly, support for new laws changing social context in which alcohol is promoted and sold when fear predominated.
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If future historians wanted to know about the common cultural environment of stories and images into which a child was born in the second half of the 20th century, where would they turn? How would they describe its action structure, thematic content, and representation of people? How would they trace the ebb and flow of its currents? Pathetic to say, they would find no other source than our own Cultural Indicators database and reports.
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The purpose of this article is to examine the experience of appreciation to media entertainment as a unique audience response that can be differentiated from enjoyment. To those ends, the first section provides a conceptualization of appreciation in which we outline how we are using the term and how it is distinct from questions of emotional valence. The second section discusses the types of entertainment portrayals and depictions that we believe are most likely to elicit feelings of appreciation. Here, we suggest that appreciation is most evident for meaningful portrayals that focus on human virtue and that inspire audiences to contemplate questions concerning life’s purpose. In the final section we consider the affective and cognitive components of appreciation, arguing that mixed-affective responses (rather than bi-polar conceptualizations of affective valence) better capture the experience of appreciation and its accompanying feelings states such as inspiration, awe, and tenderness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The purpose of this research is to broaden the conceptualization of entertainment selection to identify not only pleasure-seeking (hedonic concerns) as a motivator, but to also recognize that individuals may choose media as a means of “truth-seeking” (eudaimonic concerns). This article conceptualized and developed measures to illustrate that entertainment can be used as a means of experiencing not only enjoyment, but also as a means of grappling with questions such as life's purpose and human meaningfulness. Four studies were conducted in the development of these measures, providing evidence for their validity in terms of entertainment preference and individual differences, and illustrating how these motivations predict preferences for entertainment that elicits unique affective experiences.
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This article offers a theoretical framework to explain circumstances under which perceptions of "unrealness" affect engagement in narratives and subsequent perceived realism judgments. A mental models approach to narrative processing forms the foundation of a model that integrates narrative comprehension and phenomenological experiences such as transportation and identification. Three types of unrealness are discussed: fictionality, external realism (match with external reality), and narrative realism (coherence within a story). We gather evidence that fictionality does not affect narrative processing. On the other hand, violations of external and narrative realism are conceived as inconsistencies among the viewer's mental structures as they construct mental models of meaning to represent and comprehend the narrative. These inconsistencies may result in negative online evaluations of a narrative's realism, may disrupt engagement, and may negatively influence postexposure (reflective) realism judgments as well as lessen a narrative's persuasive power.
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This article elaborates upon the notion of media enjoyment in the context of film viewing by proposing a complementary type of gratification that we conceptualize as appreciation. Three studies were conducted to tap into the multidimensionality of viewers' entertainment gratifications with a special focus on the domain of more serious, poignant, and pensive media experiences typically associated with genres such as drama, history, documentary, or art films. These studies provide evidence of and measurement for gratifications related to fun and suspense, but also gratifications related to moving and thought-provoking entertainment experiences, with all three gratifications leading to perceptions of entertainment having a more long-lasting or enduring effect. The results are discussed with regard to the theoretical conceptualization of entertainment gratification.
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Behavioral economics examines conditions that influence the consumption of commodities and provides several concepts that may be instrumental in understanding drug dependence. One such concept of significance is that of how delayed reinforcers are discounted by drug dependent individuals. Discounting of delayed reinforcers refers to the observation that the value of a delayed reinforcer is discounted (reduced in value or considered to be worth less) compared to the value of an immediate reinforcer. This paper examines how delay discounting may provide an explanation of both impulsivity and loss of control exhibited by the drug dependent. In so doing, the paper reviews economic models of delay discounting, the empirical literature on the discounting of delayed reinforcers by the drug dependent and the scientific literature on personality assessments of impulsivity among drug-dependent individuals. Finally, future directions for the study of discounting are discussed, including the study of loss of control and loss aversion among drug-dependent individuals, the relationship of discounting to both the behavioral economic measure of elasticity as well as to outcomes observed in clinical settings, and the relationship between impulsivity and psychological disorders other than drug dependence.
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Delay discounting (DD) is a measure of the degree to which an individual is driven by immediate gratification vs. the prospect of larger, but delayed, rewards. Because of hypothesized parallels between drug addiction and obesity, and reports of increased delay discounting in drug-dependent individuals, we hypothesized that obese individuals would show higher rates of discounting than controls. Obese and healthy-weight age-matched participants of both sexes completed two versions of a DD of money task, allowing us to calculate how subjective value of $1000 or $50,000 declined as delay until hypothetical delivery increased from 2 weeks to 10 years. On both tasks, obese women (N=29) showed greater delay discounting than control women did (N=26; P values <.02). Subsequent analyses showed that these differences were not related to differences in IQ or income. Obese (N=19) and healthy-weight (N=21) men did not differ significantly. Further research is needed to determine why greater delay discounting was not also observed in obese men.
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People are often profoundly moved by the virtue or skill of others, yet psychology has little to say about the 'other-praising' family of emotions. Here we demonstrate that emotions such as elevation, gratitude, and admiration differ from more commonly studied forms of positive affect (joy and amusement) in many ways, and from each other in a few ways. The results of studies using recall, video induction, event-contingent diary, and letter-writing methods to induce other-praising emotions suggest that: elevation (a response to moral excellence) motivates prosocial and affiliative behavior, gratitude motivates improved relationships with benefactors, and admiration motivates self-improvement. Mediation analyses highlight the role of conscious emotion between appraisals and motivations. Discussion focuses on implications for emotion research, interpersonal relationships, and morality.
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The question of why people are motivated to act altruistically has been an important one for centuries, and across various disciplines. Drawing on previous research on moral regulation, we propose a framework suggesting that moral (or immoral) behavior can result from an internal balancing of moral self-worth and the cost inherent in altruistic behavior. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to write a self-relevant story containing words referring to either positive or negative traits. Participants who wrote a story referring to the positive traits donated one fifth as much as those who wrote a story referring to the negative traits. In Experiment 2, we showed that this effect was due specifically to a change in the self-concept. In Experiment 3, we replicated these findings and extended them to cooperative behavior in environmental decision making. We suggest that affirming a moral identity leads people to feel licensed to act immorally. However, when moral identity is threatened, moral behavior is a means to regain some lost self-worth.
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Age differences in future orientation are examined in a sample of 935 individuals between 10 and 30 years using a delay discounting task as well as a new self-report measure. Younger adolescents consistently demonstrate a weaker orientation to the future than do individuals aged 16 and older, as reflected in their greater willingness to accept a smaller reward delivered sooner than a larger one that is delayed, and in their characterizations of themselves as less concerned about the future and less likely to anticipate the consequences of their decisions. Planning ahead, in contrast, continues to develop into young adulthood. Future studies should distinguish between future orientation and impulse control, which may have different neural underpinnings and follow different developmental timetables.
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Is positive affect (PA) the bipolar opposite of, or is it independent of, negative affect (NA)? Previous analyses of this vexing question have generally labored under the false assumption that bipolarity predicts an invariant latent correlation between PA and NA. The predicted correlation varies with time frame, response format, and items selected to define PA and NA. The observed correlation also varies with errors inherent in measurement. When the actual predictions of a bipolar model are considered and error is taken into account, there is little evidence for independence of what were traditionally thought opposites. Bipolarity provides a parsimonious fit to existing data.
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The subjective sense of future time plays an essential role in human motivation. Gradually, time left becomes a better predictor than chronological age for a range of cognitive, emotional, and motivational variables. Socioemotional selectivity theory maintains that constraints on time horizons shift motivational priorities in such a way that the regulation of emotional states becomes more important than other types of goals. This motivational shift occurs with age but also appears in other contexts (for example, geographical relocations, illnesses, and war) that limit subjective future time.
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Delay discounting represents the extent to which consequences, or outcomes, decrease in effectiveness to control behavior as a function of there being a delay to their occurrence. Higher rates of delay discounting are often operationalized as an index of impulsivity, and as such impulsive discounting may hold considerable potential for understanding fundamental behavioral processes associated with a range of problematic behaviors - including drug use and pathological gambling. This paper first provides a review of several assessment methods used in delay-discounting research with humans. Following, the delay-discounting literature related to drug use and gambling is reviewed. Consistencies across this literature are identified; and future research directions are discussed, which include (a) improving methods of assessment for delay discounting and (b) moving drug-use research progressively to causal interpretations, with high rates of delay discounting either predisposing to drug use or resulting from drug use itself.