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Affects and Media Exposure

Elly A. Konijn


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The influence of affects and emotions in media exposure on the impact of media has become indisputable ( Döveling et al. 2010 ). Formerly, the emphasis was largely on cognitive aspects such as recall, learning, thoughts, and beliefs. The affective aspects were reserved for entertainment media, mostly limited to processes of involvement and gratifications (→ Involvement with Media Content ; Entertainment, Effects of ). Nowadays, the borders between entertainment and → news and information fare get blurred. Entertainment programs like The Simpsons and Survival claim to be reality-based (→ Reality TV ), whereas news items and information programming (e.g., → infotainment ) increasingly make use of emotionalizing cues such as personal anecdotes and zooming in on “crying faces” (→ Narrative News Story ; Soft News ). The Fox news broadcast of the invasion of the US army in Iraq in the second Gulf War, for instance, appeared like a → video game such as America's Army, including the upbeat music. The blowing up of the World Trade Towers in New York (9/11) seemed a gruesome science fiction at first hand, whereas fiction-based TV shows like ER inform many on real-life hospital affairs. Thus, two developments emphasize the importance of studying the role of affects in media exposure: (1) the media (i.e., program-makers) increasingly use dramatic techniques (→ Drama in Media ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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