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Attracted but Unsatisfied: The Effects of Arousing Content on Television Consumption Choices


  • Luca Stanca


  • Marco Gui
  • Marcello Gallucci


This paper investigates experimentally the effects of arousing content on viewing choices and satisfaction in television consumption. We test the hypothesis that the portrayal of arousing content combines high attraction and low satisfaction and is thus responsible for suboptimal choices. In our experiment, subjects can choose among three programs during a viewing session. In the experimental condition, one of the three programs portrays a violent verbal conflict, whereas in the control condition the same program portrays a calm debate. A post-experimental questionnaire is used to assess subjects' satisfaction with the programs and the overall viewing experience. The results support the hypothesis: the presence of arousing content causes sub- jects to watch more of a given program, although they experience lower content-specific and overall satisfaction. Arousing contents also significantly increase the discrepancy between actual and desired viewing.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Stanca & Marco Gui & Marcello Gallucci, 2011. "Attracted but Unsatisfied: The Effects of Arousing Content on Television Consumption Choices," Working Papers 203, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:203

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charness, Gary & Grosskopf, Brit, 2001. "Relative payoffs and happiness: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 301-328, July.
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    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Jeremy Kyle & revealed preference
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-02-23 18:55:14

    More about this item


    Rational Choice; Audience; Television; Satisfaction; Arousing content; Laboratory Experiments.;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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