Media Entertainment: The Psychology of Its Appeal

Media Entertainment: The Psychology of Its Appeal

Media Entertainment: The Psychology of Its Appeal

Media Entertainment: The Psychology of Its Appeal

Synopsis

This collection represents a systematic exploration of media entertainment from an academic perspective. Editors Zillmann and Vorderer have assembled scholars from psychology, sociology, and communication to provide a broad examination of the primary function of media entertainment--the attainment of gratification. Chapters included here address vital aspects of media entertainment and summarize pertinent findings, providing an overview of what is presently known about the appeal and function of the essential forms of media entertainment, and offering some degree of integration. Written in a clear, non-technical style, this volume provides a lively and entertaining study of media entertainment for academic study and coursework.

Excerpt

The period since the late 1980s is often considered the beginning of the "information age." The proliferation of digital technology, with its immense capacity for compression, transmission, and exhibition of massive amounts of information via computers and similar devices, and the associated enormous growth in the conveyance of informational displays to vast numbers of recipients, has invited the characterization of present times as such an age. What has been mostly overlooked is that the indicated technological development toward increasingly rich media environments carries with it a previously unimaginable wealth of entertainment choices. In fact, entertainment offerings obtrusively dominate media content and are bound to do so in the foreseeable future. This circumstance, together with the apparent growing public demand on entertainment provisions, lend equal justification to characterizing the present times as the "entertainment age." Never before in human history has so much entertainment been so readily accessible, to so many, for so much of their leisure time as is now, primarily because of the media of communication. All conceivable forms of media entertainment avail themselves at all times, competing with alternative forms for the attention of those seeking diversion, relaxation, excitement, amusement, bewilderment, or other alterations of prevailing experiential states. Potentially serving such ends, a great variety of music seems ever-present. Storytelling, the undisputed "main course" of media entertainment, is similarly omnipresent, mostly as fictional narrative but also in nonfictional formats. Athletic displays and competitions apparently also hold a universal appeal.

Western media consumers have apparently adjusted quickly to the abundance of entertainment offerings. In prosperous industrial societies, the citizens' pursuit of happiness seems to entail an entitlement to being well-entertained, especially by the media. More and better entertainment is expected, if not demanded. And as more societies become prosperous, this call is likely to be heard around the world. Thus, a formidable challenge is issued to makers of media entertainment. Business as usual might not suffice in meeting the challenge. Specifically, it might not suffice . . .

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