Predicting Selection and Activity in Television Genre Viewing

Robert P. Hawkins, Suzanne Pingree, Jacqueline Hitchon, Bradley W. Gorham, Prathana Kannaovakun, Eileen Gilligan, Barry Radler, Gudbjorg H. Kolbeins, Toni Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


"Active" television viewing has meant (among other things) selective exposure to types of content, attention to that content, and several different kinds of other activities during viewing itself. This study argues that such meanings are differently predicted by three types of predictors (individuals' gratifications sought from different television genres, their expertise with these genres, and their need for cognition), and also vary by genre. Two different instrumental reasons for viewing (mood and content preference) both predicted selective viewing and thinking while viewing, but only content preference predicted attentive viewing. Casual reasons for viewing were related to less viewing and more channel surfing behavior. Need for cognition was unrelated to variation in genre viewing, but it was related in differing but sensible ways to attention to different genres. These results support the utility of genre in differentiating processes in television viewing and further argue for making a number of distinctions in research: between genres, between gratifications, between gratifications and other predictors, and between selective viewing and during-viewing activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-263
Number of pages27
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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