Discrete negative emotions generated in an interactive advertisement: an exploration of control as a medium effect
Some researchers believe that affective experiences on interactive media are different than in traditional media or in real life. This study ‘s objective is to explain emotion elicitation in interactive media by applying appraisal theories. One of the main contributions of appraisal theories to the study of emotions is their capacity to forecast which discrete emotion will be elicited by an event. The prediction of emotion elicitation is based on a relatively small number of appraisal dimensions that an individual makes about an event. Two dimensions from appraisal theories (control, who controls the event, and agency, who caused the event) were extracted for this study to explore how combinations of control and agency generate discrete emotions during an interaction with an ad that results in a negative outcome. The expected emotions to be found in the study were regret (low control/self), guilt (high control /self), dislike (low control/other), and anger (high control/other). Appraisal theory assumes that every discrete emotion has different effects on motivation, attitudes and behavior. In this study, the distinct nature of the relationship between emotion and these constructs were hypothesized for each emotion. The hypotheses were tested in a 2 (high/low control) x 2 (self/other agency) x 2 (high/low involvement) factorial design. The results indicate that the experimental combination of control, operationalized as control of the information flow of an interactive ad, and agency, operationalized as who caused the selection of the interactive ad, elicited higher levels of dislike and regret in the expected conditions. Anger and guilt were not statistically different across the conditions of the study. The effects of the discrete emotions described by structural equation modeling were, as expected, diverse. In the structural equation model developed for guilt, this emotion linked significantly and positively with attitudes toward the ad exclusively in the low involvement condition. The dislike model indicated a significant and negative relationship between this emotion and cognitions and attitudes toward the ad. The model for anger suggested that this emotion had a significant and negative relationship with cognitions about the ad. Finally, regret had no effect on the model’s attitudinal, cognitive or behavioral measures.