Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Laura Johnson

Reader 2

Kimberly Drake

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According to Bracken et al. (2013), viewers use controlled attention to process rational complexity and immersion to process emotional complexity in media. This experiment aimed to study how rational and emotional complexity established controlled attention and immersion in trivia shows Jeopardy and Cash Cab, and attempted to see if a particular complexity and process was more engaging for consumers. The interaction of these types of complexity along with low and high degrees of its presence were evaluated. Each participant watched a 7-minute video of Jeopardy with low or high rational complexity, or Cash Cab with either low or high emotional complexity. While watching, secondary task reaction time (STRT) was recorded. Results indicated slightly slower STRTs from both Cash Cab videos than both Jeopardy videos, suggesting more engagement with emotional complexity. STRT was similar between degrees of emotional complexity, and the low rationally complex Jeopardy video had the fastest STRT. Information from a supplemental questionnaire revealed higher ratings of emotion and fact-remembering for low complexities, suggesting that a low degree of complexity in both types may be most effective for viewers.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.