Sad movies don't always make me cry the cognitive and affective processes underpinning enjoyment of tragedy

Dohyun Ahn*, Seunga Jin, Ute Ritterfeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


This study examined the role of sadness in the process of enjoying tragedy. Sadness, perceived reality, involvement, and enjoyment were measured after participants watched a sad film. The results from structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses indicated that a tragic film induces sadness and that sadness is a positive predictor of perceived reality of the story and sense of involvement. Involvement, in turn, is a positive predictor of enjoyment of the sad film. Sadness predicted subject-oriented enjoyment (measured by a self-referent item: "I enjoyed the movie") more significantly than object-oriented enjoyment (measured by an object-referent item: "The movie entertained me"). Perceived reality fully mediated object-oriented enjoyment, but only partially mediated subject-oriented enjoyment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 2012



  • Enjoyment
  • Perceived reality
  • Sadness
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Tragedy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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