Docudrama media effects on viewer's behaviors related to stress, emotion, perception, and reality
Paper Presented at the Academic Forum Conference June 2014, Santa Rosa, CA. Published in the Conference Proceedings, also to be published in The Exchange.
Many television and theater-screened documentaries and docudramas share the goal of influencing viewer behavior. However, few studies have determined whether viewer behavior change actually occurs and if so, the nature of the reported changes. This study examined the effect of a docudrama, People v. the State of Illusion, on its viewers via a pre-post survey of participant attitudes and self-reported viewer behavior changes occurring within 10 days of the film screening. The themes in the movie related to stress, human emotions, perceptual differences, and the nature of reality. While viewing the film elicited no change in the measure of stress, F (1, 3) = .03, p = .856; statistically significant reductions in the measures for emotion, F (1, 3) = 8.83, p = .004 and perception, F (1, 3) = 5.45, p = .023; and a statistically significant increase in the measure of reality, F (1, 3) = 205.25, p ~ .000 were found. Qualitative data reinforced the findings and added an interesting and important dimension to the results. These findings substantiate previously undocumented emotional effects resulting from viewing appropriately designed docudramas.