chapter  16
18 Pages

Problems of Measuring Suspense

WithMike Friedrichsen

The consideration of the phenomenon of suspense from a social-scientific point of view holds a considerable problem that may be phrased in one simple question: What is suspense anyway? To the present day, a clear, generally valid definition has not been submitted. The numerous attempts to define suspense do offer wide congruencies (Brewer, in press, chap. 4, this volume; Carroll, 1984, chap. 5, this volume; Vorderer, 1994a; Zillmann, 1980,1991, chap. 11, this volume), frequently including the assumption of hypothesis by the viewer, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator. Consequently, substantial problems arise when measuring suspense by means of the techniques used in social science (de Wied & Zillmann, chap. 13, this volume) and when comparing the resulting conclusions.