chapter  11
34 Pages

The Psychology of Suspense in Dramatic Exposition

WithD olf Zillmann

In this chapter, I focus on cinematic suspense as a phenomenon that defines a most popular genre of contemporary media entertainment and that permeates numerous other entertaining endeavors. I explore the informational structure of suspenseful drama and examine the cognitive and affective reactions to the in­ formation flow in such drama. I investigate affective dispositions toward entities in drama as a result of unfolding events, but also as a consequence of traits that respondents bring to the screen. I also probe the consequences for euphoric and dysphoric reactions of these dispositional factors.