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The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

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Volume 31, Issue 3 (Sep 2006)


Emotional gratifications during media use – An integrative approach

Anne Bartsch
  • Institute for Media and Communication Science, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Mansfelder Str. 56, 06108 Halle, Germany.
  • Email:
/ Roland Mangold
  • Faculty of Information and Communication, Stuttgart Media University, Wolframstr. 32, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany.
  • Email:
/ Reinhold Viehoff
  • Institute for Media and Communication Science, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Mansfelder Str. 56, 06108 Halle, Germany.
  • Email:
/ Peter Vorderer
  • Communication and Psychology at the Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, 3502 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.
  • Email:
Published Online: 2006-11-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COMMUN.2006.018


The desire to experience emotions is widely considered to be a key motivation for media use, especially for the use of media entertainment. But what exactly do people seek when they seek emotions? What kinds of gratifications do they obtain from the experience of emotions during media use? An overview of research on emotional gratifications shows that emotions can be gratifying in multiple ways – ranging from simple hedonistic gratifications to more complex gratifications such as feeling competent or morally good. An integrative framework is outlined that aims at a more systematic understanding of emotional gratifications and their influence on selective media use. We suggest that different aspects of an emotion's gratification potential are appraised simultaneously, and integrated into a holistic appraisal outcome that can be conceptualized as ‘meta-emotion’. Meta-emotions guide the recipient's intuitive decision to accept, or reject a media offer's invitation to experience emotions.

Key words: emotion; gratification; selective media use; meta-emotion

About the article

Published Online: 2006-11-28

Published in Print: 2006-09-01

Citation Information: Communications, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COMMUN.2006.018. Export Citation

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