How does our mood affect which movies we pick?

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Utilizing mood management theory (Zillmann, 1988) and its extension, the mood adjustment approach (Knobloch, 2003), we recruited participants who were entering a video rental store to assess possible links between mood and video choice. This procedure was done to maximize external validity in examining the relationship between mood and media choice. Participants reported on their current mood before entering the store; on exiting they reported on their rental choices. Overall, aspects of the viewing situation (alone vs. with others), mood, and to some extent planned activities for the night were related to video choice but not always in the ways we had predicted. In general, those who felt angry and bored chose fewer dramas; those who felt calm chose more comedies, and those who felt energetic chose more action movies but avoided crime dramas and comedies. Those who felt nervous, however, chose more-not fewer-horror movies. In addition, those who felt sad chose more-not fewer-dramas and crime dramas but avoided dramatic comedies. Rather, sad people seemed to gravitate to serious films. Possible explanations for such findings are provided. Support for mood management is somewhat stronger than for mood adjustment.

Source: “Mood Management and Video Rental Choices” from Media Psychology, Volume 10, Issue 1 June 2007 , pages 91 – 112

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