chapter  7
30 Pages

fright Responses to Mass Media Productions

This chapter investigates fright reactions produced by mass media presentations. First, research findings related to the prevalence and intensity with which feel­ ings of anxiety are experienced as a result of exposure to media drama are reviewed, along with conjectures about the appeal of frightening media. Then the paradox that fright reactions to media drama occur at all is discussed, and an explanation is proposed based on principles of stimulus generalization. Other factors that are needed to account for observed effects are also explored, and research evidence on the emotional effects of both dramatic and documentary presentations is reviewed in conjunction with the proposed mechanisms of emo­ tional effects.