The Role of Viewers' Value Conflicts and the Peculiarities of Movie Preferences

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Abstract

This aim of this research is to clarify the mechanisms of resolving value conflicts of the youth audience according the movies they choose. The study was conducted in the format of a written survey, 210 students of Nizhny Novgorod universities (118 girls and 92 boys, aged 18-22 years) were recruited for the study. The methods used were the author's method of studying movie impressions, the method of the value profile of the personality of S. Schwartz. It was revealed that the preferences are influenced by the viewers’ identification with their favorite movie characters, as well as the presence of conflicting motivational formations in the viewers’ value system. We picked out the following criteria of film selections, sensitive to the value characteristics of the audience:,the country of origin, dynamics and realism of the narrative. We found out that the characteristics of exclusive and inclusive orientation of discrepancies in the value perception of oneself and of movie characters also play an important role in forming viewers’ movie preferences.

General Information

Keywords: feature films, movie preferences; movie hero; value orientations, value conflict

Journal rubric: Psychology of Art

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2023190401

Received: 31.08.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Voskresenskaya N. The Role of Viewers' Value Conflicts and the Peculiarities of Movie Preferences. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2023. Vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 5–13. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2023190401.

Full text

Introduction

The problem of influence of cinema on the practices of human development and transformation revealed in the work of L.S. Vygotsky «Psychology of Arts» [7] now acquires special significance and is actively covered in the scientific literature, in particular, as a special way of interaction between the creators of the work and the viewers by understanding other viewpoints and constructing a vision-pattern in the thinking on which actions are based [8]. Feature film has a special role due to its mass impact, which, with the introduction of digital technologies, on the one hand, is increasingly oriented to the tastes of the mass viewer [2], on the other, represents a special form of cognition based on faith and emotional empathy allowing imaginative, mythological interpretation of various phenomena of surrounding reality [9; 16]. With a certain amount of understatement and mystery, feature film stimulates comprehension, understanding and inner acceptance of what is seen confirming the viewer’s value positions and influencing them through identification mechanisms with favorite characters [4; 11; 15; 18; 21; 22]. Thus, V.S. Sobkin V.S. and O.S. Markin [15], investigating the peculiarities of the perception of the film «Scarecrow» by R. Bykov, highlighted three models of identification of the viewer with the hero of the artwork: a detached position regarding the collisions and conflicts of the film when the relationship between the characters is perceived as a foreign life; the coincidence of the value changes in the structure of the «I-concept» with the content of the main conflict of the artwork; and, which was much less frequent,  the transformation of the structure of the I-concept of the viewer when the value grounds determining the relationship between the I-ideal and the anti-ideal are subject to revision.

In terms of the attention of media researchers are not only film characters with their internal conflicts but also peculiarities of the construction of the plot. This direction in media research is actively developed within the framework of the constructivist approach and procedural rhetoric (which is more focused on the impact of computer games but can also be used in the analysis of films). For example, T.A. Kurbak speculates about a film as an event that manifests itself at the level of organization of images influencing the formation of the discursive reality of the viewer [11], J. Bogost notes that a film, like computer games, can be considered as a huge set of interconnected single operations where the rules and laws of the fictional world of the work and the perception of film characters will be largely determined from the viewers’ point of view [19]. Thus, the impact of feature film on viewers can be carried out both through identification mechanisms with film characters and through the film reality within which these film characters function. It shifts the focus of research into the socio-psychological correlates of viewers’ perceptions from the analysis of their choices to the analysis of cinematic preferences where the viewer’s choice of genres and predisposition to identify with film characters are interrelated. From this point of view, films can be divided into those that focus on the film characters and their internal experiences arising in the process of interaction and on the world which the film characters oppose or, conversely, defend the right to its existence. The majority of foreign blockbusters have received public recognition due to the construction of specific film realities allowing film characters not only to work wonders but also to become carriers of fundamentally new values set by the peculiarities of the world order [6]. The departure of major Hollywood studios in 2022 was a serious blow not only to the Russian film distribution but it  also formed a free niche which domestic cinema has not yet been able to fill. This makes research that explores the causes of the psychological attractiveness of virtual worlds particularly relevant. Thus, there are many studies where the role of the socio-psychological characteristics of viewers who choose films with different content, dynamic and emotional characteristics is noted. Studies of the psychological correlates of film choices allow us to speak about the important role of genre characteristics which set the viewer on certain dynamics, level of credibility and emotional direction of film narrative, having a certain readiness to interpret the actions of heroes and the inner acceptance of their life scenarios [4, 5, 11, 25]. It is possible to assume that through film selection the viewers themselves determine in advance by which model film characters will be identified with their values defined by the specifics of the film reality.

With the development of digital technologies, the influence of cinema on the processes of socialization only increases [3, 12]. There is no doubt that teenage and young audiences are vulnerable to the film exposure due to the plasticity of their values. In the process of learning new social roles, watching films becomes not only a way of leisure but also has a compensatory character helping to mitigate sharp, traumatic consequences of socialization and associated value conflicts, to build relations both with your own self and the environment in order to better adapt to it, to make a responsible choice or, on the contrary, to avoid an unpleasant collision with the reality [14].

According to K. Levin, value conflicts are normally considered as a struggle of motives arising in the process of actualization of contradictory or incompatible motives. Their resolution occurs through making a choice or avoiding it, respectively, the feature film can help to achieve the chosen goal or, conversely, becomes one of the ways to avoid solving problems. When studying the role of value conflicts on the viewer’s perception, the approach of S. Schwarz deserves special attention as values there are considered to be motivational goals serving as guidelines in life [23]. Schwartz identified ten motivational types that are part of the value structure of the personality which have different meanings for individuals, can conflict with each other, or be compatible. So, openness to changes which includes value orientations united in motivational blocks «Independence» and «Stimulation», may contradict the values of «Security», «Conformity» and «Traditions», and motivational blocks «Power» and «Achievement» directed towards self-elevation may come into conflict with motivational blocks of self-transcendence «Kindness» and «Universalism». The propensity of men and women alike to perceive the correlations of value compatibility and conflict is proved by numerous cross-cultural studies [17] and figuratively represented in the circular structure of values where compatible values are located together while the conflicting ones are as far apart as possible. The motivational types of values in this scheme can also be divided into inclusive focusing on others and exclusive focusing on oneself [24] which to some extent can be seen as a confrontation of collectivist and individualistic values [13] the role of which in the viewers’ perception of feature film is of special interest.

Although the influence of value conflicts on viewers’ cinematic preferences is unquestionable, experimental research into this phenomenon is hampered by the genre uncertainty of the feature film (one film may have several genre characteristics) and selectivity of viewer perception (different viewers will pay attention to different aspects of film narrative and character behavior). For example, comedies traditionally lead among the favorite cinema genres in the audience’s preferences, but this genre can often be found in combination with a variety of other genres making it difficult to understand the true motives of such a choice. This problem can be solved by the transition from the study of cinematic preferences through genre characteristics and the selection of a limited number of criteria that are important for the study of the specifics of value perception of viewers, namely the producer of the film (domestic or imported, which makes is possible to interpret the created world from the position of «home - alien»), the authenticity of the film work (realism or fantasy as the readiness of the viewer to believe in what is happening on the screen), the dynamics of film narrative (dynamic or slow, regulating the ability of the viewer to deal with the motivation of the actions of film characters, especially when they are ambiguous), and the emotionality of the film work (as the specificity of experiencing pleasure of watching through the opportunity to laugh, feel sadness or be scared). 

The purpose of the study is to analyze the role of values and value conflicts in the cinematic preferences of the young audience through the peculiarities of film selection and subjective perception of their favorite film characters.

Hypothesis. Depending on the choice of film, the viewer’s perception of the film characters will vary: the viewer may idealize it, see it as a confirmation of own life positions or diminish its value. We assumed that the assessment of film characters will show the peculiarities of value orientation of viewers, the nature of correlation of their value profiles with their favorite film characters as well as the conflicting motivational formations in the value structure of viewers.

Research methodology

The analysis of cinematic preferences was conducted among the students of Nizhny Novgorod universities via a written survey sampling 118 girls and 92 boys aged 18-22 (M=19; SD=1.59). To identify their cinematic preferences, the students were asked to make a choice among nine film characteristics (domestic, foreign, dynamic, calm, fictional, realistic, funny, sad, scary) that were offered in pairs. To study the characteristics of films, the question was: If you want to relax and watch a feature film, what will you choose? You will be offered 35 combinations of pairs. Each time you choose the one which will have a stronger impact on you when choosing a genre». To analyze the value perception, the method of value profile of personality of S. Schwarz was used, which allowed to investigate individual priorities most often manifested in the social behavior of the personality [10]. The respondents were offered forty options. The rating on a seven-point scale was given twice by the viewers, first assessing their favorite film characters and then themselves when offered to answer the following questions: «What qualities do you like in the film characters?» «What qualities are characteristic of you?» Based on the responses, the peculiarities of value profiles of film characters and viewers were determined. To analyze the propensity of viewers to identify with a film character, an index of divergence of viewers’ values and their ratings of film characters was used which is calculated as the difference between the value of viewers’ positions and the value positions of favorite characters divided by the number of these positions. To statistically process data, the program SPSS 26: descriptive statistics methods, Mann-Whitney U criteria, Pearson X-Square criterion, factor analysis, and Pearson correlation analysis were used.

The results and discussion

As a result of the calculation of the generalized divergence index (M=0.14; SD=0.538), a range of values from -2.30 to 1.58 corresponding to the normal distribution was allocated. This was the reason for the selection of three sub-groups of viewers with different peculiarities of evaluation of film characters (Table. 1). However, the Mann-Whitney U-criterion did not reveal differences in the distribution of indicators by gender and age in the selected subgroups.

The first subgroup (34.8% of the sample, the range of differences for value index (VI) from 0.30 to 1.58) has a higher evaluation of film characters and lower self-esteem than the rest of the sample. The means rank of the value orientations (VOs) is 124.89 versus 95.17 in the rest of the group (p<0.001), while the average rating of the VOs of the viewers is 71.23 versus 123.76 (p<0.001).

The second subgroup (46.2% of the sample, the range of differences for VI is from -0.29 to 0.29) does not significantly differ in their evaluation of the film heroes from the rest of the sample. In this case, the group tends to value themselves more highly than the rest of the sample (115.86 versus 96.61, p<0.05).

The third subgroup (19% of the sample, the range of differences for VI is from -2.30 to -0.30) values the film characters lower (70.00 versus 113.85, p<0.001) and evaluate themselves highly (142.93 versus 96.69, p<0.001).

Table 1. Differences in the evaluation of value orientations of film characters and viewers compared to other respondents in the subgroups with different indicators of value divergence index (VI)

 

Selected

subgroups

The means rank of the VOs

 

The range of discrepancy VI

Film characters

Audience

Subgroup

The rest of the group

Subgroup

The rest of the group

1st subgroup (N=73)

Mann-Whitney U

124,89

95,17

71,23

123,76

 

от 0,30 до 1,58

Z (-3,376), p<0,001

Z (-5,966), p<0,001

2st subgroup

(N=97)

Mann-Whitney U

105,55

105,46

115,86

96,61

от -0,29 до 0,29

Z (-0,010), p=0,992

Z (-2.289), p<0,022

3st subgroup

(N=40)

Mann-Whitney U

70,00

113,85

142,93

96,69

от -2,30 до

-0,30

Z (-4,107), p<0,001

Z (-4,329), p<0,001

 

The analysis of genre preferences showed that the significant film characteristics on which the choice is made include: the opportunity to laugh (M=5.06; SD=2.392); foreign production (M=4.82; SD=1.895); a realistic plot (M=4.79; SD=2.171); or a fictional plot (M=4.35; SD=2.440). Statistically significant differences in film selection on emotional criteria (opportunity to laugh, be sad or frightened) in the selected subgroups are not noted (table.2).

The first subgroup has higher ratings when choosing realistic (M=4.99; SD=2.058, p<0.05) and calm film narration (M=3.90; SD=2.022, p=0.099). The second subgroup tends to prefer foreign filmmakers (M=5.03; SD=1.997, p<0.05) and underestimate domestic cinema (M=2.27; SD=1.890, p<0.05). The third subgroup has higher ratings of the dynamic characteristics of the films (M=4.55; SD=1.934, p<0.001), which puts it in some opposition to the first group in terms of film choices, the latter having lower ratings according to this criterion compared to the other subgroups.

Table 2. Specificity of film preferences in different subgroups compared to the rest of the audience

 

Characteristics of films

1st subgroup (N=73) /

the rest of the group (N=137)

2st subgroup (N=97) / the rest of the group (N=113)

3st subgroup (N=40) / the rest of the group (N=170)

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

Domestic production Mann-Whitney U

2,44 / 2,21

1,951 / 1,817

2,27 / 2,31

1,890 / 1,847

2,08 / 2,34

1,639/1 ,913

Z (-0,658), p=0,511

Z (-1,129), p=0,259

Z (-0,748), p=0,455

Foreign production

Mann-Whitney U

4,77 / 4,85

1,830 / 1,935

5,03 / 4,65

1,997 / 1,792

4,43 / 4,92

1,723/1,926

Z (-0,565), p=0,572

Z (-1,976), p=0,048

Z (-1,824), p=0,068

Dynamic

Mann-Whitney U

3,95 / 4,28

1,674 / 1,822

4,16 / 4,16

1,772 / 1,786

4,55 / 4,07

1,934/1,729

Z (-1,110), p=0,267

Z (-0,687), p=0,492

Z (-2,218), p=0,027

Calm

Mann-Whitney U

3,90 / 3,26

2,022 / 1,868

3,16 / 3,76

1,712 / 2,089

3,50 / 3,48

2,207/1,882

Z (-2,426), p=0,015

Z (-1,767), p=0,077

Z (-0,699), p=0,484

Fictional

Mann-Whitney U

3,99 / 4,55

2,648 / 2,307

4,48 / 4,24

2,301 / 2,557

4,70 / 4,27

2,345/2,461

Z (-1,138), p=0,255

Z (-0,199), p=0,843

Z (-1,128), p=0,260

Realistic

Mann-Whitney U

4,99 / 4,69

2,058 / 2,229

4,56 / 4,99

2,160 / 2,169

5,00 / 4,74

2,386/2,121

Z (-1,984), p=0,047

Z (-1,568), p=0,117

Z (-0,415), p=0,678

Funny

Mann-Whitney U

5,12 / 5,03

2,533 / 2,323

5,10 / 5,03

2,321 / 2,462

4,85 / 5,11

2,348 /2,407

Z (-0,615), p=0,538

Z (-0,139), p=0,890

Z (-0,922), p=0,356

Sad

Mann-Whitney U

3,32 / 3,35

2,505 / 2,670

3,26 / 3,41

2,615 / 2,611

3,58 / 3,28

2,818/2,561

Z (-0,109), p=0,913

Z (-0,451), p=0,652

Z (-0,440), p=0,660

Scary

Mann-Whitney U

2,99 / 3,16

2,960 / 3,038

3,33 / 2,90

3,161 / 2,921

2,75 / 3,18

2,880/3,072

Z (-0,464), p=0,643

Z (-1,055), p=0,291

Z (-0,777), p=0,437

 

Pearson’s correlation analysis revealed the interdependence of the film characters’ VOs (M=1.64; SD=0.808) and the viewers’ VOs (M=1.43; SD=0.909) at a high level of significance (r=0.604; p<0.01). This applies to all motivational types which does not contradict other studies devoted to the peculiarities of viewers’ perception, and is related to the characteristic of viewers’ wishful thinking when interpreting actions based on their individual-personal characteristics, especially in ambiguous situations [20].

The distinctive features in the value profiles of favorite characters in the studied subgroups (table 3) were revealed. The first subgroup differs in attaching more importance in the film characters to the values included in the motivational block «Traditions» (M=0.34 versus -0.45 in the rest of the sample, p=0.003), including religiosity of the film character and their desire to follow their beliefs (M=0.19 against M=-0.95, p=0.004). Also, the motivational unit «Safety» is highly valued (M=1.03 versus 0.42 in the rest of the sample, p=0.028), in the first place the desire to live in a safe environment and avoid dangers (M=0.31 versus -0.23 in the rest of the sample, p=0.014) and keep things in order and cleanliness (M=1.49 versus 0.91 in the rest of the sample, p=0.021). The viewers of this subgroup tend to rate the characters more highly on the aggregate of statements included in the block «Hedonism» (M=1.71 versus 1.61 in the rest of the sample, p=0.040), although no significant differences on individual value profiles in this block were identified.

The viewers of the first group themselves are characterized by the smaller personal significance of the values included in the motivational blocks «Conformity» (M=0.16 versus 0.78, p=0.029), including their effort to always behave properly (M=-0.23 versus 0.18, p=0.002); «Kindness» (M=1.62 versus 0.62) the ability to forgive (M=0.18 versus 0.83, p=0.009); «Hedonism» (M=1.33 versus 1.76, p<0.01), including the ability to have a good time (M= 1.89 versus 2.16, p=0.009).

Thus, the values of the viewers manifested in the evaluation of themselves and film characters are, on the one hand, in the social focus of their perception of self in the world; on the other hand, are egocentric in character and oriented on deriving pleasure from life where the immediate environment is perceived as an instrument to do so. Low estimates of the values that regulate interaction in groups in the immediate environment are not conducive to trust and are likely to be a source of dissatisfaction with their ability to have a good time. This provokes the need for an ideal identity model that resolves the viewers’ internal conflict of enjoying life without particularly contradicting the viewers’ own value preferences. A favourite film hero feels safe and comfortable among relatives and friends being able to defend their beliefs. Unhurried narration and realism are the important conditions for the viewers to immerse in the film reality, identify with the film character and act out situations that can be applicable in their lives.

Table 3. Significant value orientations (VOs) of film heroes and viewers in different subgroups

Film characters

Audience

Motivational blocks

 

M

 

SD

Motivational blocks

 

M

 

SD

1st subgroup

Traditions

 Mann-Whitney U

0,34 / -0,45

1,121/1,366

Conformity

Mann-Whitney U

0,16 / 0,78

1,153/1,157

Z (-4,301), p=0,001

Z (-3,559), p=0,001

Hedonism

Mann-Whitney U

1,71/1,61

0,814/1,043

Kindness

Mann-Whitney U

1,07/1,62

1,060/1,372

Z (-2,442), p=0,015

Z (-3,675), p=0,001

Security

Mann-Whitney U

1,03/0,42

0,842/1,236

Hedonism

Mann-Whitney U

1,33 / 1,76

1,137/1,075

Z (-3,450), p=0,001

Z (-2,505), p=0,004

2st subgroup

Kindness

Mann-Whitney U

1,69/ 1,63

1,064/1,141

 

 

There are no significant differences

Z (-1,975), p=0,048

Power

Mann-Whitney U

0,56/0,44

1,347/1,187

Z (-1,979), p=0,048

3st subgroup

Conformity

Mann-Whitney U

-0,24 / 0,46

1,290/1,086

Conformity

Mann-Whitney U

1,24 / 0,41

1,364/1,099

Z (-3,020), p=0,003

Z (-3,460), p=0,001

Traditions

Mann-Whitney U

-0,87 / -0,01

1,331/1,290

Traditions

 Mann-Whitney U

0,02 /-0,42

1,476/1,352

Z (-3,805), p=0,001

Z (-2,283), p=0,022

Kindness

Mann-Whitney U

1,15 / 1,77

1,122/1,069

 

 

Z (-3,760), p=0,001

Hedonism

Mann-Whitney U

1,49 / 1,68

1,140/0,924

Z (-3,322), p=0,001

Power

Mann-Whitney U

0,48 / 0,50

1450/1,128

Z (-3,543), p=0,001

The second group tends to evaluate the values included in the motivational units «Kindness» (M=1.69 versus 1.63, p=0.009) and «Power» (M=0.56 versus 0.44, p=0.044) without emphasizing any specific features. This subgroup does not demonstrate any significant differences in personal value profile, and the peculiarities of the choice are limited to a foreign film producer which, on the one hand, allows to make a very rough pattern of the film hero which is media-specific and including conflicting motivational blocks aimed at personal orientation through domination of people while maintaining good relationships with the loved ones.

The third group tends to underestimate the value characteristics of the heroes in comparison to the rest of the sample. So, there are lower ratings in the group of values of motivational units «Conformity» (M=-0.24 versus 0.46, p=0.017), including avoidance of actions that can cause public condemnation (M=-0.82 versus -0.12, p=0.013) and showing obedience including that to older people (M=0.87 vs 1.39, p=0.020); «Traditions» in the meaning of being religious and following their beliefs (M=-1.15 vs -0.55, p=0.012); «Kindness» (M=1.15 vs. 1.77, p=0.003), including helping others (М=1,42 versus 1,76, р=0,050) and forgiving (М=0,20 versus 1,029, р=0,001). Besides the values regulating group relationships, values that focus on the individual are also downplayed. So, below are the ratings of value of the motivational type «Power» (M=0.48 vs 0.50, p=0.006), including to be rich (M=-0.40 vs 0.18, p=0.009) and «Hedonism» (M=1.49 vs 1.68, p=0.003), including to like “to indulge” oneself (М=0,90 versus 1,34, p=0,046).

When describing their value qualities, on the contrary, there is a tendency to put higher ratings than the rest of the sample, on the values of the motivational units «Conformity» (M=1.24 versus 0.41, p=0.021) and «Traditions» (M=0.025 versus -0.42, p=0.024), including demonstration of obedience (28, M=2.87 versus 1.73, p=0.004) and religiosity (M=-0.17 versus -0.80, p=0.007).

So, the third group is not seeking ideal identification models in films. On the contrary, there is a tendency to underestimate the value of film characters, including those values that are emphasized as more important compared to the rest of the group. The focus on dynamic characteristics when choosing a film does not require any immersion in the inner world of the hero while watching the film, here the actions performed by them are in the focus of attention. The low value of the characters’ values makes it possible to observe their risky adventures from a distance, and any empathy with them is superficial.

To emphasize the factors on the index of divergence of values of viewers and their estimation of film characters, the main component method was used as well as the Warimax rotation method with normalization of Kaiser, the rotation converged in 3 iterations (measure of adequacy 0.740, p<0,000).  As a result, two types of divergence were identified which differ in the way of self-categorization (table 4).

The inclusive type is associated with divergence in the perception of film characters’ values and self-evaluations at the level of group self-categorization. This includes such motivational blocks as «Traditions», «Conformity», «Universalism», «Security», «Kindness», which, according to the hypothesis proposed by Schwartz in 2007, represents a direction that can influence the specificity of interpretations of other values [24]. Our research has shown that the second group are sensitive to discrepancies of this type as the producer country is an important criterion of choice. The part of the subgroup that has a high factor load of this type tends to focus on the foreign country of the manufacturer less than the viewers with lower factor loads (r=-0,266, p<0,01, Pearson). For both groups where they diverge in the evaluation of the values of film characters and viewers’ own values, there were no noticeable interconnections between the influence of the inclusive focus and the peculiarities of the film choice.

The exclusive type is associated with differences in the perception of film characters’ values and self-evaluation values at the level of individual self-categorization. This includes such motivational units as «Stimulation», «Independence», «Hedonism», «Power», «Achievements». The study found that despite the shift in value differences towards the film hero (1 subgroup) or the viewer themselves (3 subgroup) high factor loads in this direction are negatively connected with the desire of viewers to prefer films with a fictional plot. Consequently, it can be said that the exclusive focus of viewers influences their desire to perceive the film reality as authentic which can be subjective and depends on the viewers’ perspective on the person or the world around. Thus, our study of viewers’ specificity of perception of realistic and fictional films [5] revealed that those who choose realistic films and reject fictional stories can still prefer films in fantasy or science-fiction genres if the actions unfold in the present and the problems seem to be edifying. On the contrary, fiction is associated with a shift of perspective from the film character to the features of the world order.

Table 4. Significant correlations of the type of divergence between motivational types of values and film choices in subgroups

Factor

Significant criteria in film choices (Spearman)

1 subgroup

2 subgroup

3 subgroup

The inclusive type (cumulative 28,08)

Traditions

0,806

 

not detected

 

Foreign production

(r=-0,256, p<0,05)

 

not detected

Conformity

0,756

Universalism

0,749

Security

0,742

Kindness

0,407

The exclusive type (cumulative 18,38)

Stimulation

0,736

 

Fictional

(r=-0,233, p<0,05)

 

Foreign production

(r=0,280, p<0,01)

 

Fictional

(r=-0,363, p<0,05)

Independence

0,688

Hedonism

0,606

Power

0,558

Achievements

0,532

Conclusions

The study revealed the specificity of the relationship between the value orientations of viewers and their cinematic preferences shown in the choice of characteristics of the film work and perception of their favorite film characters. It has been found that viewers tend to evaluate film characters on the basis of the importance of personal values. The correlation between the values of viewers and that of their film characters is quite high (p<0,001).

It was discovered that the divergence index of self-evaluation and the evaluation of film characters influences the film preferences. At a low level of divergence of values, the leading criterion of the film selection becomes the country of the producer, and the type of favorite film character can be described as «tyrant in the circle of relatives and friends»: the emphasis on significant motivational types «Power» and «Kindness» can generate conflicts in real life but are successfully resolved on screens.

The tendency to overestimate a film character is an important condition for idealizing the character and eagerness to identify with them. In such cases, a calm and thorough film narrative allows a deeper immersion into the world and the problems of the film hero. At the same time, the viewers’ choice is determined by the specific features of the value profiles of the viewers themselves, namely the existence of a contradiction between the desire to live to their heart’s content and the determination to build friendly relations with their relatives and friends. This type of viewers can be jokingly called «egoist and exemplary family man». The resolution of this conflict in film reality comes due to the appeal of film characters who are able to reconcile their desire to pursue their convictions with the stability and orderliness within the groups that matter to them.

The desire to diminish the value of the characters typical of the third group is related to the viewers’ disposition towards films with a dynamic plot which is typical of most action films. The tendency to adhere to norms and traditions in real life causes the desire to immerse into another reality where you can live an alternative life with film characters. T.Adorno [1] linked such film selection to the repression of self-expression which caused the viewer’s desire to want to identify with superheroes. At the same time, as our research shows, the mechanisms of the identification with film characters are still not obvious as their value is diminished. These types of viewers can be called «home-seeded-dreamer» while they can separate fantasies and fiction. 

The study also indicated the direction of the divergence in the value perception of self and film characters on the features of self-categorization affecting the film preferences of the types of viewers we have selected. Thus, in the second group, the greater focus on group values (inclusiveness) reduces the importance of a film being produced abroad and, on the contrary, increases their attractiveness when divergence in individual values occur (exclusivity). In the first and second groups the expression of exclusivity in the value divergence is manifested in the decrease of interest to fictional film narrative, which may be due to the great attention paid to the authenticity of what is happening to film characters allowing them to be closer and more understandable.

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Information About the Authors

Natalia Voskresenskaya, PhD in Psychology, senior lecturer, Department of Politics and Communication Theory, Nizhny Novgorod State University, Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4979-5989, e-mail: navoskr@mail.ru

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