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Effects of Guilt Inducement on Subsequent Media Behavior: Lessons From Two Studies

Mon, May 29, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 204A


Media use may elicit guilt as an unpleasant moral emotion. We assume that when media users are induced with guilt, they will strive to compensate for this feeling by trying to re-instate their moral self. Based on approaches on moral management, namely moral cleansing and moral licensing, we analyze how media users react towards guilt induced via media use. We present findings from two studies: In study 1 we focus on guilt induced through racist online comments and observe subsequent action of political sub-activism. In study 2, we induced guilt through violence in a video game environment and analyze the procedural character of guilt management through evaluation of other peoples’ online profile. Results for both studies demonstrate the nature of guilt inducement in and through media, but did not find effects on subsequent behavior. Implications for future research are discussed.