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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 16 an end to the suffering (Tan & Diteweg, 1996). According to Zillmann’s disposition theory, we form positive dispositions toward protagonists that we like and negative dispositions toward characters that we dislike (Zillmann, 1996). As a result, we tend to hope for good things to happen to the characters we like and empathize with and feel the most suspense when the possibility that something extremely bad will happen to them (Zillmann, 1996). With this in mind, suspense can be utilized in E-E programs by exploiting the feelings that audience members have toward protagonists. For example, if a well-loved character faced with a terminal disease and the audience is waiting to learn what is going to happen to their favorite character, then they can be learning more about what they can do to prevent the same potentially fatal end as this character. Vorderer (1996) posits that in some cases, audience members do not empathize with the protagonists in the manner that Zillmann suggests, and rather step back and view the suspense from a more analytical perspective. This situation is caused by the audience having some sort of knowledge about the situation that is unbeknownst to the protagonist and is likely to impact the outcome for the protagonist (Vorderer, 1996). With this type of suspenseful situation, an E-E program would not utilize the positive dispositions felt toward the protagonist, but rather the audience’s ability to critically analyze the situation that the character is in, based on the knowledge that they have and the character does not, to determine what they would do. This type of suspense encourages the type of involvement that Sood (2002) called cognitive-critical involvement. If the goal is to get the audience member to analyze a situation, determine what s/he would do in the situation, and then see how the character behaves and what consequences that behavior has, then this second version of suspense might work better than empathy in creating the feelings of self-efficacy needed for behavior change. Suspense might also be an

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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EE theory,
16
an end to the suffering (Tan & Diteweg, 1996). According to Zillmann’s disposition theory, we
form positive dispositions toward protagonists that we like and negative dispositions toward
characters that we dislike (Zillmann, 1996). As a result, we tend to hope for good things to
happen to the characters we like and empathize with and feel the most suspense when the
possibility that something extremely bad will happen to them (Zillmann, 1996). With this in
mind, suspense can be utilized in E-E programs by exploiting the feelings that audience members
have toward protagonists. For example, if a well-loved character faced with a terminal disease
and the audience is waiting to learn what is going to happen to their favorite character, then they
can be learning more about what they can do to prevent the same potentially fatal end as this
character.
Vorderer (1996) posits that in some cases, audience members do not empathize with the
protagonists in the manner that Zillmann suggests, and rather step back and view the suspense
from a more analytical perspective. This situation is caused by the audience having some sort of
knowledge about the situation that is unbeknownst to the protagonist and is likely to impact the
outcome for the protagonist (Vorderer, 1996). With this type of suspenseful situation, an E-E
program would not utilize the positive dispositions felt toward the protagonist, but rather the
audience’s ability to critically analyze the situation that the character is in, based on the
knowledge that they have and the character does not, to determine what they would do. This
type of suspense encourages the type of involvement that Sood (2002) called cognitive-critical
involvement. If the goal is to get the audience member to analyze a situation, determine what
s/he would do in the situation, and then see how the character behaves and what consequences
that behavior has, then this second version of suspense might work better than empathy in
creating the feelings of self-efficacy needed for behavior change. Suspense might also be an


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