Why do we like what we like, when do we seek it out, and what stops other people from liking the same things we do? My research focuses on identifying and testing the underlying processes in enjoyment from media entertainment, the role enjoyment plays in attention to and selection of media content, and subsequent effects of enjoyment on behavior and recovery, from a media psychological perspective. That is, I look at individual processes leading to enjoyment of media entertainment.
I study enjoyment from two main perspectives. The first is in the pleasure we get from viewing justice restoration in narrative, which has focused my work on the intersection of morality and media. In this research I combine media theory and moral psychology to identify how moral judgment determines our media enjoyment, and how our media choices in turn affect our moral judgments. Specifically, this work has included examinations of morality subcultures in entertainment preferences, the role of morality in character appeal; the effects of short- and long-term exposure to moral and immoral character behaviors, the role of neurological differences in moral justification of media stories, and broad historical perspectives on media and morality.
My second line of research focuses on the motivations for and within media entertainment to promote enjoyment. These studies investigate functional processes within and between individuals to isolate the attractions to media entertainment. Papers in this area include those combining self-determination theory with media enjoyment to understand the role of self determination in media choice, examining the effects of ego-depletion on recovery from stress, and most recently work on game features that promote behavior change and intrinsic motivation both for immediate and future play.
I am available for comment on these topics, as well as any of my published work, via my work email a (dot) l (dot) eden (at) vu (dot) nl.