Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2023 Maria M Gerges
“Doomscrolling,” defined as excessively poring through negative content on social media, has become increasingly prevalent over the past several years. Although recent research suggests that doomscrolling reduces positive emotions, even over relatively short exposure (< 5 min) times, the effect of doomscrolling on other behaviors remains unexplored. This question is especially relevant because exposure to sad movie clips has previously been shown to increase willingness-to-pay (WTP) for unrelated purchases, due to the desire to change one’s circumstances by seeking out higher rewards. In this experiment, we examined the effect of doomscrolling on purchasing decisions via exposure to video content from a popular social media platform (TikTok). Participants (N = 91) viewed 8-10 minutes of TikTok videos before choosing whether to purchase an unrelated consumer product (Apple AirPods). Participants were randomly assigned to view either content to induce sadness (thematically related to climate change) or neutral content (thematically related to nature appreciation). Relative to participants in the Nature Appreciation condition, participants in the Climate Change condition reported significantly higher levels of sadness, confirming that the emotion induction was successful. In addition, participants in the Climate Change condition had higher WTP for the AirPods. However, the results from the WTP analysis were not statistically significant, perhaps reflecting limited power due to the small sample size of this study. While methodological issues constrain the interpretation of these results, the successful replication of these findings could have practical implications for how consumers and technology companies structure decisions following extended exposure to negative content on social media.
Gerges, Maria, "TikTok Made Me Buy it: Emotional Carryover of Doomscrolling on Purchasing Decisions" (2023). CMC Senior Theses. 3323.