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What entertains a given individual is inescapably subjective, a matter of. One might paraphrase Berelson: some kinds of communication, under some kinds of conditions, will entertain some kinds of people .  Some scholars contend that empathy can signal the presence of entertainment. Bosshart and Macconi suggest that entertainment requires one “to identify himself or herself with fictional persons and actions”. Similarly, Oliver explores tragedy and other somber forms of entertainment, and concludes that enjoyment of them correlates with what she terms “tender affective states,” which are “associated with feelings of sympathy, warmth, kindness, and understanding” . Zillmann proposes an Affective Disposition Theory, in which audience members morally assess a character’s behavior and either approve or disapprove it”. To Vorderer, Affective Disposition Theory constitutes “the strongest theory on entertainment available”.

They begin with antecedent conditions, including the person’s willingness and ability to suspend his or her disbelief. The suspension of disbelief is characterized by the willingness to let oneself go into some other world, whether a movie, a game, or any other form of entertainment. For these scholars, five emotions potentially lie at the core of entertainment: exhilaration; fear and relief; sadness or melancholy; sensory delight; and achievement, as in winning a video game. The authors give an example of how the theory works. A woman reads the latest book by John Grisham in order to seek distraction. “She is ready to suspend disbelief about how unlikely somebody like the hero of her book might be in the social world.” She feels the fear of the villains who threaten her hero and feels “as if she is ‘there’ at the time and where and when the action takes place”. There are phases of suspense and relief; it is like being on a cognitive roller coaster. Many other definitions are functional in nature. Entertainment can provide diversion and rejuvenation, To sustain, refresh, and even deepen concentration, one also needs to distract it; otherwise concentration fatigues itself and gets dulled through monotony. These lessons, one might say, are inscribed in our anatomy of vision: we succeed in securing our physical sustenance and refreshment by looking outward and inward. “mild arousal” as an element of entertainment, and argues that people seek “a balance of excitement and security” through entertainment. Similarly, people tend to seek particular types of entertainment depending on their moods, as a sort of regulator . Research suggests that overexcited people tend to choose calming entertainment, for example, and people suffering from depression choose comedy. People thus select entertainment as part of “seeking mood changes for the better (i.e., in terminating bad moods, in switching over into good moods, or in facilitating and extending good moods)”. Much entertainment consumption “is adaptive, recreational, restorative, and in this sense, therapeutic”.

In a classic work, stresses the element of play. As the key to the study of entertainment, he proposes looking for “conditions under which people can have communication-pleasure”. He distinguishes play—“disinterested, self-sufficient, an interlude … that brings no material gain”—from work—“not disinterested, … not an interlude in the day … and produces goods, services, or ideas, etc.” goes on to distinguish “communication-pain” from “communication-pleasure,” in keeping with emphasis on enjoyment as an element of entertainment: Communication-pain is a command for work and action, for effort and production; education, the development of skills, and so on all may entail hard work and are subject to communication-pain…. Communication-pleasure is enjoyment, contentment, serenity, delight, such as is characteristic of entertainment, art, drama.














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