Psychology of Entertainment

Psychology of Entertainment

Psychology of Entertainment

Psychology of Entertainment

Synopsis

The Seattle grunge band Nirvana contributed what may be the defining mantra of these postmodern times when they proclaimed, Here we are now, entertain us As entertainment becomes a trillion dollar a year industry worldwide, as our modern era increasingly lives up to its label of the entertainment age, and as economists begin to recognize that entertainment has become the driving force of the new world economy, it is safe to say that scholars are beginning to catch up with Nirvana and take entertainment seriously. The scholarly spin on entertainment has been manifested in traditional ways, as well as innovative ones. Without a doubt, the accumulating empirical evidence, theoretical formulations, and practical wisdom are contributing mightily to the emerging area of entertainment theory. Psychology of Entertainment promises to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date volume on entertainment.

Excerpt

The Seattle grunge band Nirvana (1991) contributed what may be the defining mantra of these postmodern times in “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” when they proclaimed, “Here we are now, entertain us!” As entertainment becomes a trillion dollar a year industry worldwide (EmanuEl, 1995), as our modern era increasingly lives up to its label of “the entertainment age” (Zillmann & Vorderer, 2000, p. vii), and as economists begin to recognize that entertainment has become the driving force of the new world economy (Wolf, 1999), we can safely say with only a touch of irony that scholars are beginning to catch up with Nirvana and take entertainment seriously. The scholarly spin on entertainment has been manifested in traditional ways (e.g., courses, symposia, sessions at scholarly conferences, consulting) as well as in innovative ones (e.g., videogame design, launching new entertainment companies). Without a doubt, the accumulating empirical evidence, theoretical formulations, and practical wisdom are contributing mightily to the emerging area of entertainment theory.

But the battle is far from won. It is often noted that only by teaching a subject does one fully understand it. A corollary is that teaching makes you cognizant of a topic’s limitations and weaknesses. Having taught numerous seminars in entertainment theory over the years, and having presented a plethora of lectures on various facets of entertainment on several continents, the volume co-editors were not at all surprised to learn that we concurred on most areas about which we had experienced delimiting knowledge gaps in entertainment theory and research. Moreover, independently we had come to the conclusion that the weakest links included fundamental aspects of the topic’s intellectual infrastructure. Specifically, both of us had found that conceptualization and explication of key psychological mechanisms underlying entertainment often were inadequate, and the specific ways entertainment processes purportedly differed from those commonly associated with information, education, or persuasion were not always well-articulated.

Once we realized we concurred on areas in which conceptualization and explication of entertainment mechanisms and processes were underdeveloped, we found ourselves taking a . . .

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