Entertainment is Awesome! Exploring the Elicitation and Entertaining Effects of Awe During Media Use

Open guest lecture by Daniel Possler from Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover.

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About the lecturer

Daniel Possler from Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. 



Awe—the emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that do not fit into existing mental structures—has recently drawn much attention by psychology and communication scholars. Initial work revealed that awe can be elicited by vast material objects such as the Grand Canyon but also by various forms of media entertainment (e.g. documentaries, virtual reality simulations). Moreover, as the emotion has been characterized as a pleasurable but also deeply meaningful experience, evoking awe might be an important, yet under-investigated mechanism of media entertainment.

I will present a model that hypothesizes links between awe and the entertainment experience and theorizes the elicitation process of the emotion during media use. The model thereby focuses on a medium that frequently displays awe-elicitors: video games. I will then present multiple studies from our lab that test the assumptions of the model, including three experiments based on latest virtual reality technology (overall N = 232 players), one longitudinal (N = 1.075 players) and one cross-sectional survey study (N = 170). Overall, the data shows that awe can be elicited in various gaming episodes and can substantially contribute to the entertainment value of games. Based on these findings, I would like to invite you to discuss awe, the elicitation of the emotion and its effects with me.

Published Oct. 10, 2019 2:52 PM - Last modified Oct. 10, 2019 2:54 PM