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The influence of a virtual companion on amusement when watching funny films


Hofmann, Jennifer; Platt, Tracey; Ruch, Willibald; Niewiadomski, Radoslaw; Urbain, Jerôme (2015). The influence of a virtual companion on amusement when watching funny films. Motivation & Emotion, 39(3):434-447.

Abstract

We investigated the role of a virtual companion and trait cheerfulness on the elicitation of amusement. Ninety participants watched funny films in four conditions: either alone, with a virtual companion laughing or verbally expressing amusement at fixed time points (pre-scripted), or additionally joining the participant’s laughter (responsive companion). Amusement was assessed facially and vocally by coding Duchenne Displays and laughter vocalizations. Participants’ cheerful mood pre and post the film watching and positive experience were assessed. Results showed that high trait cheerful individuals generally experienced and expressed more amusement than low trait cheerful individuals. The presence of a virtual companion (compared to being alone) led to more laughter for individuals low in trait cheerfulness. Unexpectedly, the responsive companion did not elicit more amusement than the pre-scripted companion. The general disliking of virtual companions and gelotophobia related negatively to amusement. Amusement expressing virtual companions may be used in interventions aiming at eliciting positive responses, especially for individuals with higher thresholds for amusement.

Abstract

We investigated the role of a virtual companion and trait cheerfulness on the elicitation of amusement. Ninety participants watched funny films in four conditions: either alone, with a virtual companion laughing or verbally expressing amusement at fixed time points (pre-scripted), or additionally joining the participant’s laughter (responsive companion). Amusement was assessed facially and vocally by coding Duchenne Displays and laughter vocalizations. Participants’ cheerful mood pre and post the film watching and positive experience were assessed. Results showed that high trait cheerful individuals generally experienced and expressed more amusement than low trait cheerful individuals. The presence of a virtual companion (compared to being alone) led to more laughter for individuals low in trait cheerfulness. Unexpectedly, the responsive companion did not elicit more amusement than the pre-scripted companion. The general disliking of virtual companions and gelotophobia related negatively to amusement. Amusement expressing virtual companions may be used in interventions aiming at eliciting positive responses, especially for individuals with higher thresholds for amusement.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:27 Aug 2015 10:47
Last Modified:15 Oct 2021 09:55
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0146-7239
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-014-9461-y

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