Excitation transfer : arousal states due to exercise and perceptions of mass media images, media exposure, and interpersonal communication
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In 1959, Bernard Berelson argued that mass communications research appeared to be at the end of its rope. In response to this claim, Elihu Katz proposed a theory of his own - the uses and gratifications approach - which moved away from asking what media do to people, but rather focused on what people bring to media. An approach that focuses on individuals' social and psychological origins of needs, it is suprising gratification research has only focused on media use during sedentary or low arousal states. In response to such limitations within the uses and gratifications approach, this study turns to Zillmann's excitation transfer theory (1971), which essentially argues that an emotional response to a stimulus can be strengthened by the preceding one. Because gratifications research examines why people seek certain media content, the question of what people expect from media appears to be as valuable a question within gratifications research. The purpose of this study was to examine whether changes in arousal states due to everyday stimuli, like exercise, alter: people's perceptions of images in news broadcasts, predicted enjoyment of media, and desired social context while being exposed to media. The findings show some support for excitation transfer, including: 1) exercise marginally influences individuals' perceptions of news anchors when shown visual and auditory messages, 2) individuals who have just exercised are more likely to prefer an increased amount of interpersonal communication while online than those who have not exercised, and 3) men who exercise longer are more likely to find watching TV enjoyable.