On the Meaning of Life and the Inevitability of Death.

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In recent years, scholars have argued that there must be more to entertainment than just amusement and thrill. Therefore, a new approach to entertainment has looked beyond entertainment gratification such as sensation-seeking and fun, and has included affective states as poignant, emotionally moving, and inspiring as description of media experience. In the current study, eudaimonic entertainment is linked to the meaning of life and inevitability of death. Participants are either primed with the death of oneself (mortality salience self, MSS), the death of a loved one (mortality salience loved one, MSLO) or placed in a control group. Consequently, they are asked to watch an eudaimonic video where the protagonist loses a loved one. In the video, the protagonist either showed emotions indicating acceptance towards the death of the loved one (Accepting Emotion Video, AEV) or strong and sorrowful emotions about the death of the loved one (Sorrowful Emotion Video, SEV). The main question is whether type of mortality salience (MSS/MSLO/control) and type of video (AEV/SEV) lead to different media experiences in terms of positive and negative affect, mixed affect, poignancy, perceived corniness, identification, transportation, TEBOTS and para-social relationships. The results showed little evidence for both type of mortality salience and type of video on media experience. Nonetheless, several ambiguous findings also provided the knowledge that something unanswered and unexplained is going on in the field of eudaimonic stories and mortality salience. Directions for future research are discussed.
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