Making sense of entertainment

Anne Bartsch, Mary Beth Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This contribution explores the relationship of emotion and cognition in entertainment experience. Drawing on the reflective model of aesthetic experience (<citationReference id="cr9-1" rid= "c9">Cupchik, 1995</citationReference>) and the concept of appreciation (<citationReference id="cr33-1" rid= "c33">Oliver & Bartsch, 2010</citationReference>), we propose a multi-level view of affective processing that includes simple affect schemata as well as more elaborate forms of sociomoral reasoning that build on this basic layer of emotional meaning. To better understand how affective factors can stimulate or impede cognitive elaboration processes, we review research on motivated cognition that has dealt with the influence of arousal, valence, and personal relevance on cognitive depth. The role of affect in defensive information processing (i.e., the motivated neglect or denial of information) is also considered. Specifically, we discuss how research on motivated cognition can help explain thought-provoking entertainment experiences, and the potential of such experiences to stimulate self-reflection and personal growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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