The influence of story ending and music on perceived protagonist emotion, viewer emotion, and enjoyment

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Communications and Media Studies

Publication Date



This study examined the influence of narrative and music on three variables central to affective disposition theory (ADT): perceived protagonist emotion, viewer emotion, and enjoyment. Participants watched one of six versions of a video containing positive, negative, or no music and an ending that rewarded or punished the protagonist. Results supporting ADT indicated that the reward created positive viewer emotion, and the ending created negative viewer emotion. Furthermore, protagonist emotion was correlated with viewer emotion in all six conditions. Contrary to ADT predictions, the ending did not influence enjoyment measures, nor was enjoyment correlated with viewer emotion. Enjoyment was marginally correlated with protagonist emotion in the positive music/punishment condition only. The presence of any music at the beginning of the narrative augmented the effect of the ending on perceived protagonist emotion. Negative music augmented the effect of the ending on viewer emotion, but positive music had no effect.

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