The impact of viewer’s emotional tension on the choice of films



The author analyses peculiarities of choices of motion pictures with different dy- namic characteristics, taking into consideration spectator’s subjective perception of in- tenseness of his or her life in time perspective. The student participants were offered a choice of 16 films from which they were required to select the one they would prefer to watch at the moment. The film set was formed based on the ratings of films that are popular amongst students, in which survey 187 students participated. The selected films differed in terms of temporal and dynamic characteristics, and they were famil- iar to all the 60 participants in the sample. The students were also required to rate the fullness of their life in temporal perspective. The analysis of the data revealed that the film preference appears to be compensatory in nature. The perception of one’s life as boring and barren determines the choice of dynamic films with stimulation of forced attention by means of attention reflex and actualization of basic needs. The percep- tion of one's life as dynamic and full of new experiences contributes to the selection of circumstantial cinematic narrative and stimulation of voluntary attention through actualization of social needs.

General Information

Keywords: temporal perspective; the optimal range of emotional stress, content analysis, psychologically stressful event, fiction film

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Voskresenskaya N. The impact of viewer’s emotional tension on the choice of films. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2016. Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 121–134. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2016070309. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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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:, e-mail:



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