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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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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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