Edited By Hua Wang
This volume illuminates the complexity of our modern era, exploring how society can leverage exciting new opportunities whilst recognizing the complex challenges we face in a time of constant change. It helps us understand how we have come to this point and where we may be going so that we may study the opportunities and the dangers, the chances and the risks, that digital media pose in our quest for some version of «the good life».
Chapter Four: Meaningfulness and Entertainment:Fiction and Reality in the Land of Evolving Technologies
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Meaningfulness and Entertainment
Fiction and Reality in the Land of Evolving Technologies
MARY BETH OLIVERPENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, USA
JULIA K. WOOLLEYCALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY,SAN LUIS OBISPO, USA
Foundational research in entertainment psychology has tended to focus its attention on fictional, narrative content. With some notable exceptions such as studies of sporting events, most entertainment scholarship has examined various types of stories, including comedy, mystery, horror, and tragedy, among many others (for overviews, see Klimmt & Vorderer, 2009; Oliver, 2009; Zillmann & Vorderer, 2000). Understandably, this research has also tended to examine entertainment appearing in more traditional media, including television, literature, and film. Finally, entertainment scholarship has been heavily influenced by theories making assumptions about individuals’ selection and enjoyment of content, placing an emphasis on hedonic considerations and on the importance of beloved characters being portrayed as triumphant or antagonists as defeated (Raney, 2006; Zillmann, 2000).
With this background in mind, more recent scholarship has begun to broaden the conceptualization of entertainment, noting that in addition to giving rise to pleasures akin to hedonic gratifications, it may also provide individuals with meaningful and often deeply enriching experiences, akin to eudaimonic experiences (Oliver & Raney, 2014). This growing scholarship has employed a variety of perspectives to examine broadened notions of entertainment gratifications and processes. However, with a few exceptions discussed below, studies in this growing area have generally continued to employ fictional narratives in traditional...
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