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Psychology of Popular Media Culture
Number of Followers: 7  
 
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ISSN (Print) 2160-4134 - ISSN (Online) 2160-4142
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  • Playing with privilege: Examining demographics in choosing
           player-characters in video games.

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      Abstract: Although researchers have explored how, when, or why players may choose avatars or player characters that are like or unlike them (Ducheneaut et al., 2006; Lim & Reeves, 2009; Martey et al., 2014; MacCallum-Stewart, 2008; Shaw, 2014; Thompson et al., 2010), there has been little experimental research on the relationship between being in a dominant or marginalized subject position and character choice. This study used an experimental online survey design to investigate if there are behavioral differences between the members of the dominant and marginalized groups in how they select playable characters. As these groups have dissimilar cultural experiences and unequal representation in media, it was hypothesized that members of marginalized groups would be more likely to select characters that share their gender and/or race than White male participants. The results confirmed that White male participants, occupying dominant subject positions, did not recognize and did not look for characters “like them” in comparison with the non-White nonmale participants. This was an interdisciplinary study that attempts to connect critical scholarship and social/psychological sciences via the issue of representation, with potential implications for video game makers to consciously diversify the unnecessarily homogeneous playable character options. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 24 Jan 2022 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Who finds media violence funny' Testing the effects of media violence
           exposure and dark personality traits.

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      Abstract: The popularity and commercial success of electronic media that pair humor with violence suggests that many people enjoy laughing at screen media violence. But who is most likely to find media violence funny' To answer this question, we measured media violence exposure, dark personality traits, and the extent to which participants found media violence humorous in 2 cross-sectional survey studies with samples of undergraduate students (Study 1 N = 215; Study 2 N = 178). Across the 2 studies, we assessed moral disengagement, the dark triad, spitefulness, sadism, and proneness to schadenfreude as dark personality traits. Among other findings, men with high exposure to media violence, those who score high on sadism, and those who are prone to moral disengagement and schadenfreude were the most likely to find media violence funny. These were the most consistent associations; they were of small-to-moderate size. Thus, those who laugh the hardest at media violence may have the darkest personalities. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Is it painful' Playing violent video games affects brain responses to
           painful pictures: An event-related potential study.

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      Abstract: Previous research showed mixed evidence on how violent video game exposure (VVGE) may affect empathy for pain in the brain. This study applied an event-related potential (ERPs) approach to improve understanding of how habitual and short-term violent game play may affect top-down and bottom-up empathy for pain brain responses. A total of 58 male participants with different levels of habitual VVGE performed a pain judgment task before and after 40 min of violent game play while their brain responses were recorded. Results showed that only late cognitive-evaluative ERP responses (P3, P625) were sensitive to the pictures’ painfulness, which were also affected by both habitual VVGE and short-term violent game play. As expected, participants with no habitual VVGE showed an ERP pain effect before game play: higher P3 and P625 amplitudes for painful versus nonpainful pictures. In contrast, a similar ERP pain effect was not observed in participants with high VVGE before game play, suggesting habitual desensitization. Short-term violent game play resulted in lower P3 and P625 amplitudes for painful pictures in the no VVGE group, indicating short-term desensitization. We discuss the observed VVGE desensitization effects in terms of top-down regulation of an empathetic response induced by painful stimuli. Though such adaptation could be beneficial in a violent game environment, possible long-term consequences associated with reduced empathic responsiveness in a social context should be further studied. In all, our findings contribute to the debate on the effects of VVGE on the brain by providing first ERP evidence suggesting empathy for pain desensitization. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 19 Aug 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • An examination of viewers’ mental model drawings after they watched a
           transgender-themed TV narrative.

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      Abstract: This study analyzes how viewers of a transgender-themed popular TV show construct distinct mental models and what these models inform us about the way people process a nonnormative narrative about a marginalized social group. Participants (n = 57) watched an episode of the TV show Transparent, drew story-related pictures, and responded to questions about their drawings. After conducting a quantitative content analysis of the drawings to identify the most frequently occurring elements, we conducted a thematic analysis of the drawings and open-ended question data that revealed the underlying patterns of how participants constructed these mental model drawings. Participants constructed both story-setting models and character-setting models and expressed their concerns about the treatment of transgender persons in society. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Using comics and tweets to raise awareness about gender biases in STEM.

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      Abstract: Brief messages on social media have the potential to raise awareness about gender biases in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by reducing defensive reactions. A preregistered study with 436 college students examined the effect of reading tweets with comics versus text-only tweets about gender biases in STEM on perceptions about women in STEM. Participants completed a set of questionnaires before and after seeing a series of comics or text-only tweets. Women, but not men, felt less defensive regarding their views about women in STEM after viewing either type of post. In addition, after reading either type of post, participants viewed the climate for women in STEM as less positive. Finally, women in the comic condition thought that there were more women in STEM after reading the comics, but men’s perceptions did not change in either condition. Thus, the results provide preliminary evidence that comics about women in STEM may be effective at changing women’s perceptions about women in STEM. In addition, the text-only tweets were equally effective as the comics for decreasing women’s defensiveness and altering views about the climate for women in STEM. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 28 Jun 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Unsatisfied needs as a predictor of obsessive passion for videogame play.

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      Abstract: Although research shows that videogames have a positive impact on the majority of players, concerns remain about the situations in which videogame play becomes disordered and harmful. Drawing on self-determination theory and the dualistic model of passion and based on previous research in non-videogame domains, we sought to explore the extent to which need satisfaction outside of videogames (in general life) as well as need satisfaction from videogames predicted passion orientation. We also aimed to explore the extent to which passion for videogames predicted well-being outcomes. We undertook structural equation modeling with survey data from a sample of 170 participants. We found need satisfaction from videogames predicted both obsessive and harmonious passion, but importantly, that obsessive passion for videogames was predicted by low need satisfaction in general life. In turn, qualified support was found for obsessive passion predicting psychological distress and addiction. Overall, our findings highlight that when problematic gaming occurs it may be useful to focus outside of videogames as the cause of the problem. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 22 Apr 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Examining engagement and self-referencing across the duration of narrative
           processing.

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      Abstract: Both thinking about the self (i.e., self-referencing) and psychologically and temporarily “losing” oneself (i.e., transportation) are processes that occur in response to mediated narratives. Much research in cognition and theorizing in narrative processing suggest that these 2 processes should not be able to occur simultaneously, and yet other data show that each occur during story consumption. The primary goal of this study was to determine if engaging in one of these processes detracts from the other, which would provide evidence suggesting they do not occur simultaneously. An experiment, which attempted to manipulate the kind of processing participants engaged in while watching a TV show provided preliminary data suggesting that engagement and self-referencing can both occur during story consumption without detracting from one another. Results are discussed in light of current narrative persuasion theory, addressing contradictions between conceptual and operational approaches to studying the persuasive mechanisms of popular stories. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • The role of envy in linking active and passive social media use to memory
           functioning.

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      Abstract: Social media use has previously been shown to have negative implications for cognition. Scarce research has examined underlying pathways through which social media use may influence cognition. One potential pathway involves the consequences of social comparison, such that those who use social media more frequently may feel worse about themselves and more envious toward others. In turn, these negative socioemotional states could compromise memory. Further, whether an individual uses social media actively or passively may moderate these associations. Using an online adult life span sample (n = 592), the current cross-sectional study examined whether socioemotional consequences of social comparison (self-esteem and envy) mediated relationships between social media use and memory (everyday memory failures and episodic memory) and whether active/passive use moderated these associations. Mediation models revealed that higher envy, but not lower self-esteem, partially explained the relationship between higher social media use and more self-reported everyday memory failures. Neither envy nor self-esteem mediated the relationship between higher social media use and lower objective episodic memory performance. Additionally, higher social media use was associated with higher envy to a greater extent for active users compared with passive users. These findings may suggest that high social media use has negative ramifications for both subjective and objective memory and that increased feelings of envy may partially explain these effects for subjective, but not objective, memory. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Not all media multitasking is the same: The frequency of media
           multitasking depends on cognitive and affective characteristics of media
           combinations.

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      Abstract: Media multitasking comprises a variety of different behaviors, ranging from watching TV while sending a text message to listening to music while gaming. However, we still know little about which media multitasking behaviors are selected more frequently and whether specific characteristics of the media activities determine this choice. Therefore, the present study examined to what extent media multitasking is predicted by 4 cognitive dimensions (Wang et al., 2015) and by instant emotional gratification. We reanalyzed 15 data sets that assessed between 36 and 144 media multitasking combinations each. The findings show that media multitasking occurs more frequently among media combinations that are characterized by a high control over task switching, do not present information in a transient manner, do not access the same sensory modality, and do not require a behavioral response. Moreover, media multitasking occurs more frequently among media combinations that provide instant emotional gratification. These findings further illuminate media multitasking by unraveling the cognitive and emotional characteristics of media multitasking. The findings demonstrate that in addition to cognitive resources and demands, media multitasking is predicted by instant emotional gratification. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 15 Feb 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
  • Dark personality traits and anger in cyber aggression perpetration: Is
           moral disengagement to blame'

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      Abstract: A number of dark personality traits (e.g., psychopathy and sadism) have been shown to predict cyber aggression perpetration among emerging adults; however, trait anger and moral disengagement, both useful in understanding other forms of aggression, have not typically been included in these models. The present study tested a model in which dark personality traits and trait anger were expected to predict cyber aggression perpetration and moral disengagement was expected to partially mediate these relationships. Emerging adult volunteers (N = 404; 41% men, 59% women) between 18 and 29 (M = 25.16, SD = 2.76) recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk completed an online survey assessing the variables of interest. Structural equation modeling showed that sadism (β = 0.450, p < .001), psychopathy (β = 0.118, p = .035), and anger (β = 0.099, p = .007) predicted cyber aggression perpetration when taking respondent sex and college enrollment into account, indicating a small effect for anger and psychopathy and a medium effect for sadism. Moral disengagement partially mediated these relationships (24.11% for sadism, 37.23% for psychopathy, and 29.79% for anger). Both trait anger and moral disengagement may be useful in preventing cyber aggression and informing the development of clinical interventions for perpetrators (e.g., anger management, moral reasoning training, improving distress tolerance). This study adds to the literature on personality traits and cyber aggression among emerging adults. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 00:00:00 GMT
       
 
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