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Emotions, Media Effects on

Werner Wirth

Subject Psychology
Communication Studies » Communication Reception and Effects

Key-Topics emotion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Emotions are commonly understood as a complex of interactive entities encompassing subjective and objective factors and consisting of affective, cognitive, conative, and physiological components. The affective component includes the subjective experience of situations, which is connected to feelings of arousal (→  Excitation and Arousal ), pleasure, or dissatisfaction (→  emotion ). The cognitive component refers to how situations relevant to emotions are perceived and evaluated (→  Cognition ). The conative component is related to expressive behavior, including facial and vocal expression and gestures (→  Facial Expressions ; Gestures and Kinesics ; Paralanguage ). Also, emotions embed action tendencies such as approach (e.g., anger) or avoidance (e.g., anxiety; →  Appraisal Theory ). Finally, the physiological component encompasses peripheral reactions of the body that are mediated by the autonomous nervous system (physiological arousal). Studies on media and emotion usually follow one of two research logics. They focus either on effects on arousal and valence of emotions (dimensional view) or they explore the effects on discrete emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger, or aggressiveness (discrete emotion approach). There is no doubt that media are capable of inducing emotions during the communicative phase – and there is a growing body of research dealing with the conditions ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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