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What Your Movie Preferences Say About You, According to Researchers

What Your Movie Preferences Say About You, According to Researchers

Visual media, such as watching a movie, is very much a part of our lives. There is no question about it. We watch movies in cinemas. We watch movies online. We watch movies on our televisions. Our consumption is increasing based on ease of access to such content.

While it is clear that we consume much media content on a daily basis, what is less evident is the characteristics of people who have a preference toward a specific genre. Much of the research done on this topic has focused on gender and personality characteristics independently as they relate to media preferences.

In the study: Who Watches What? : Assessing The Impact Of Gender And Personality On Film Preferences, researchers aimed to delve deeper into the combined effects of gender and personality traits as they relate to movie preferences.

They made use of what is known as the Big Five Framework. This is a framework that many contemporary psychologists advocate and that many researchers use to determine personality types based on movie preferences.

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Comedy

Individuals who chose the comedy genre were more open (more creative and adventurous) and slightly less conscientious (less attention to detail and disorganized). And females who showed a preference towards this genre (when both sexes did) were more open than males.

According to Kraaykamp et al (2005), this can be explained by the fact that comedy movies are often more original, they contain humor, their plot lines are unpredictable, and they challenge conventional ways of thinking.

Horror

Individuals who gravitated towards horror movies were less agreeable (less altruistic), less extroverted (more reserved), and more neurotic (more nervous and tense).

According to the study, the lower agreeableness can be explained by the fact that people who dislike horror films are more agreeable and prefer a move that displays images of kindness and warmth (not brutality), that is in line with their personality traits.

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With regard to lower levels of extroversion, this finding is perhaps a little puzzling as it has been suggested that extroverts tend to enjoy horror films. Finn provides a possible explanation by mentioning that extroverts avoid a lot of media consumption and gravitate toward social interaction.

Explaining why more neurotic people would favor horror films is difficult as the majority of research points in the other direction.

Action

People who like action movies are more conscientious (hard working), less neurotic (less emotionally stable), and more open (creative and adventurous). And females who showed a preference towards this genre (when both sexes did) were more open than males, as with the comedy genre.

The levels of conscientiousness can be explained by the fact that such individuals often have a preference for familiarity. This is compatible with the predictable and familiar plot that is often associated with action movies.

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Being less neurotic is supported by Conway and Rubin (1991) who state that people who are more neurotic will gravitate towards movies that are lighter (such as comedy) that free them from their neuroticism.

The results of the levels of openness seem to contradict other research. This can perhaps be explained by the fact that the predictable plot of the action movies is combined with original content, which would naturally appeal to open people.

Romance

More conscientious (hard working) and more neurotic (more emotionally unstable) people seem to favor romance movies. And males who showed a preference towards this genre (when both sexes did) were more open than females

Romantic movies have predictable plots and similar characters; hence compatibility with conscientious viewers.

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They also provide happy endings, which provides comfort to the neurotic who may seek to break free from the tension and anxiety in his own life.

Fantasy

Liking fantasy films seems to reveal greater openness (creative and adventurous) and lower levels of extroversion (more reserved).

Greater openness can be explained by the originality often associated with these movies. The plots are often also very creative and appeal to the intellectual.

A plausible explanation for the second trait is that imagination and fantasy films go hand in hand. And imagination it seems is something introverts develop more than extroverts.

It seems then that your movie preferences may reveal more about you than you perhaps initially thought. The researchers acknowledge that there are some limitations with regard to the research (as is the case with any research) such as the sample (only British) and the data source (Facebook). But in reading this I am sure that there are some characteristics that do indeed hold true for you. And through further research more light will be shed on the topic.

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Nick Darlington

Nick is a Multipotentialite, an entrepreneur, a blogger and a traveler.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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