Psychology of Film: Can Watching a
Happy Film Increase Life Satisfaction?
You have decided to go see a comedy film. After seeing the film, you reflect on your life.
You seem to have a higher opinion of your life after seeing the film. Did the viewing of the
comedy film increase your life satisfaction?
In one study (Forgas & Moyan, 1987), people in a control group were asked to complete
a questionnaire before seeing a film. Other people in the study were asked to complete the
same questionnaire after seeing a film. Some of the questions pertained to satisfaction with
one's social, private, and work lives. On the average, life satisfaction was higher for people
who completed the questionnaire after seeing a happy film than for the people who
completed the questionnaire before seeing a film (control group). Moreover, judgments of
life satisfaction completed after watching a film were higher, on the average, for people who
saw a happy film than for people who saw an aggressive film or a sad film. (1)
These findings may suggest that may be more beneficial to see happy films than aggressive
or sad films.
1. See their article for information on other findings.
Forgas, J. P., & Moylan, S. (1987). After the movies: Transient mood and social
judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 13, 467-477.