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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 15 order to take the perspective of another, and emotion, which involves an affective response to the other (Harris, 1989). “If the audience is to feel more than spontaneous sympathy for an actor, an appealing character must personify appropriate attributes and intentions. The personal information known by the audience allows it to approach the character’s position, cognitively and emotionally, in order to understand his or her feelings and actions” (Vorderer & Knobloch, 1996, p. 62). If audience members see a character’s actions and intentions as appropriate for the situation, then the character is viewed positively. If not, then the audience will develop a negative disposition toward the character (Vorderer & Knobloch, 1996). The development of a positive disposition toward a character is necessary for empathy to occur (Zillmann, 1996). Empathy is most important for the success of an E-E program because it can lead to vicarious learning, where one picks up behavior change through observing the behavior of others. It is also linked to one’s motivation to centrally process any persuasive message included in the program. Even if one cannot directly identify with the character, s/he can still empathize with what the character is experiencing. One’s ability to understand the feelings that character is going through will lead to s/he retaining the information and being able to utilize it when needed in his or her own lives. Individuals who are highly empathic respond more intensely to stimuli presented in the media (Tamborini, 1996), which is positively associated with emotional arousal and coping behavior (Tamborini, Stiff, and Heidel, 1990). Suspense Another element that might affect the success of an E-E program is the amount of suspense utilized in that program. Suspense involves one having to wait in order to find out what is going to happen (Tan & Diteweg, 1996). Suspense, which often might coincide with negative emotions such as intense fear, always includes the possibility of relief, improvement, or at least

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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EE theory,
15
order to take the perspective of another, and emotion, which involves an affective response to the
other (Harris, 1989). “If the audience is to feel more than spontaneous sympathy for an actor, an
appealing character must personify appropriate attributes and intentions. The personal
information known by the audience allows it to approach the character’s position, cognitively
and emotionally, in order to understand his or her feelings and actions” (Vorderer & Knobloch,
1996, p. 62). If audience members see a character’s actions and intentions as appropriate for the
situation, then the character is viewed positively. If not, then the audience will develop a
negative disposition toward the character (Vorderer & Knobloch, 1996). The development of a
positive disposition toward a character is necessary for empathy to occur (Zillmann, 1996).
Empathy is most important for the success of an E-E program because it can lead to
vicarious learning, where one picks up behavior change through observing the behavior of
others. It is also linked to one’s motivation to centrally process any persuasive message included
in the program. Even if one cannot directly identify with the character, s/he can still empathize
with what the character is experiencing. One’s ability to understand the feelings that character is
going through will lead to s/he retaining the information and being able to utilize it when needed
in his or her own lives. Individuals who are highly empathic respond more intensely to stimuli
presented in the media (Tamborini, 1996), which is positively associated with emotional arousal
and coping behavior (Tamborini, Stiff, and Heidel, 1990).
Suspense
Another element that might affect the success of an E-E program is the amount of
suspense utilized in that program. Suspense involves one having to wait in order to find out what
is going to happen (Tan & Diteweg, 1996). Suspense, which often might coincide with negative
emotions such as intense fear, always includes the possibility of relief, improvement, or at least


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