From the TV to the Brain: Anime’s Effect on Emotion


Aaron Duckworth

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tonya Buchanan (Psychology)


Anime has become increasingly important to audiences around the world, including the college community. Despite observations that Millennials have aided in the rise of the adaptation of anime throughout the western world, little research has examined the impact of anime on psychological variables among college students.

Anime editorials suggest that anime has a relatively unique impact because it is, …”one of the few forms of entertainment that openly deals with issues like depression, anxiety, psychosis, PTSD, and many other conditions. Unapologetically portraying it in a raw, gritty manner, not pulling any punches.” (LadyEveSidwich, 2016). The story-telling, along with the flexibility/creativity afforded by it’s animated nature both likely influence the ability of viewers to connect with, and be influenced by, anime.

In our study (data collection ongoing), we examine the influence of anime on the emotions of college students who watch an animated episode of anime compared to those who watch a live-action version of the same clip. After completing a pre-test measure of emotion (PANAS), participants watched a short clip from an animated or live-action version of My Hero Academia; participants completed a post-test measure of their current affect (PANAS) and answered a series of questions about their connection to the characters/content, as well as their entertainment/anime viewing habits and demographic characteristics. We hypothesize that participants will feel more connected to the characters/content and exhibit greater changes in affect after viewing the animated (vs live-action) anime clip. Future research, limitations, and implications will be discussed.

Keywords: Emotions, anime, college students, diversity


3 thoughts on “From the TV to the Brain: Anime’s Effect on Emotion”

  1. Aaron – I’m very impressed with your presentation on anime and emotion. I know very little about anime and certainly didn’t know that it directly deals with issues of mental illness. I enjoyed reading your poster as well as watching your video presentation! I also like the posters on the walls of your room. 🙂

  2. Mr. Duckworth — Definitely an area requiring further research given its popularity. Good job picking a topic that others are inadvertently missing out on!

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