ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (12): 2337-2349.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2023.02337

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The occurrence mechanism of short video indulgence from the perspective of human-computer interaction

DONG Wanghao1, WANG Weijun1(), WANG Xingchao2, LI Wenqing3   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior, Ministry of Education, and School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
    2School of Educational Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
    3School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2023-03-23 Online:2023-12-15 Published:2023-09-11


Short video indulgence refers to an individual’s compulsive and uncontrollable consumption of short videos, leading to significant behavioral or attention impairments, and subsequently causing difficulties in interpersonal relationships, learning, and/or work adaptation. With the continuous expansion of the short video user base and the trend towards younger groups, threats of short video indulgence to users’ physical and mental health have aroused extensive attention. From a human-computer interaction perspective, we synthesized and delineated the relevant factors contributing to the occurrence of short video indulgence. The objective is to formulate a comprehensive framework delineating the intricate mechanism that underpins the phenomenon of short video indulgence, thereby shedding light on the intricacies involved in its developmental process.

At first, in order to explore the delineation between short video usage and indulgence, we categorized short video usage into “instrumental” and “ritualistic” forms. Instrumental usage refers to user behavior driven by specific goals or needs, where short videos serve as tools or means to achieve particular objectives. Ritualistic usage refers to user behavior without a specific objective, where short videos become habitual behaviors associated with particular contexts, times, or situations. The transition from conventional utilization of short videos to the state of short video indulgence appears to encompass a notable shift in usage behavior, evolving from a utilitarian “instrumental” function to a more “ritualistic” engagement.

After that, the present work formulates a conceptual framework delineating the mechanisms underlying the onset of short video indulgence, delving into the domains of human-computer interaction and susceptibility traits. The first section encompasses four facets: information technology, content provision, human-computer interaction, and user experience. Their salient characteristics encompass technological advancement, content richness, interactive efficiency, and user immersion. Furthermore, propelled by recommendation algorithms, users’ engagement with short videos becomes increasingly fortified. The second section systematically expounds the susceptibility factors contributing to short video indulgence. The four categories of unique susceptibility traits align with the four stages of interactive mechanisms, while the categories represented by common susceptibility traits have an inducing effect on general addictive behaviors. Considering the analogous nature of short video indulgence to general online indulgence, the unique and common susceptibility traits exhibit mutual intersection and overlap. Overall, the role of interactive mechanisms lies in arousing susceptibility traits, rendering individuals more susceptible to allure and ensnarement in a cycle of addictive behaviors. Simultaneously, susceptibility traits amplify users’ responsiveness and vulnerability to inducing factors. The multifaceted components within the realm of human-computer interaction, propelled by recommendation algorithms, intricately intertwine with users’ susceptibility traits, driving the transformation of users’ engagement with short videos from an “instrumental” to a “ritualistic” approach, ultimately leading to the emergence of short video indulgence. This framework seeks to illuminate the genesis and progression of short video indulgence, offering researchers in this domain a comprehensive conceptual structure to foster the scientific governance of short video indulgence.

Subsequently, in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the mechanism behind short video indulgence, we offered theoretical interpretations of short video indulgence from cognitive, emotional, motivational, and social perspectives. The dual process theory, opponent process theory, uses and gratifications theory and social shaping of technology theory were employed to elucidate the process of short video indulgence formation.

Finally, this study concludes by summarizing the existing shortcomings in the current field of research. The points are concluded as follows: 1) The research methods are limited, there should be a diversification of research perspectives; 2) Insufficient attention to technology emphasizes the need to emphasize improvements in technology that contribute to addiction; 3) The mechanism of formation is unclear, there should be a deepening of the research into the mechanisms of occurrence; 4) Inadequate research on user characteristics highlights the need to focus on susceptibility factor studies.

Key words: short video indulgence, human-computer interaction, instrumental use, ritual use, algorithmic closed loop

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