Experimental Evidence for Differences in the Prosocial Effects of Binge-Watched Versus Appointment-Viewed Television Programs

Thomas J. Billard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the influence of television consumption patterns on changes in attitudes toward depicted social out-groups. Participants were randomly assigned to view six episodes of Amazon’s Transparent, a comedy-drama program about a family whose father comes out as a transgender woman, in either one 3-hr (“binge-watching”) session or six weekly half-hour (“appointment-viewing”) sessions. Across both groups, we found exposure to the narrative reduced anti-transgender prejudice. Counter to the predictions of the extended elaboration likelihood model and the entertainment overcoming resistance model, however, improvement in prejudice toward transgender people was not predicted by narrative or character involvement. Rather, reduction in prejudice was an outcome of viewing condition, such that those who viewed the program on a schedule of one episode per week exhibited lower levels of postexposure prejudice than those who binge-watched, and their attitudinal changes were more persistent 3 weeks later. Results are discussed in the context of the original elaboration likelihood model, proposing mechanisms for further testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1051
Number of pages27
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Volume96
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Keywords

  • binge-watching
  • experiment
  • media effects
  • online streaming
  • television
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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