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 focuses on the motivations for and within media entertainment to promote enjoyment, and the role of that enjoyment on well-being and human flourishing. 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 media entertainment on recovery from stress, and media and technology features that promote behavior change and intrinsic motivation.

My second line of research lies in understanding 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 understanding morally ambiguous characters, examinations of morality subcultures in entertainment preferences, and the role of neural responses in moral justification of media stories. This work is partially funded by a recent grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, which you can read about here.

 I am available for comment on these topics, as well as any of my published work, via my work email

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