Enjoyment of Murder Mystery Game Reality Shows: The Influence of Affective Disposition, Suspense and Parasocial Interactions

Li Zhi, Fei Fan, Wei Jiang


Murder mystery game reality shows become a popular media entertainment in China. To figure out what factors contribute to the popularity of this new type of reality show, the current study seeks to examine the roles of the crime narrative and the celebrities in audiences’ enjoyment of the shows. Our study integrates the affective disposition model, the concept of suspense, the meaning transfer model, and the theory of parasocial interactions. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 350 respondents in China in 2022. The results show that audiences’ liking of the celebrities who play detective roles in the reality shows is significantly transferred to their liking of the detectives. The impact of audiences’ liking of the detectives on their enjoyment is mediated by the audience’s suspenseful feelings gained in the crime narrative of the reality shows. Besides, the audience’s parasocial interactions with the detectives mediate the relationship between their liking of the detectives and their suspenseful feelings. The implications of this research are discussed concerning the development of the affective disposition model in a new entertainment genre.



reality shows, visual communication, audience analysis, suspense, celebrity, murder mystery game

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