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Affective-News Theory: Effects of Narrative Structure on Suspense, Curiosity, and Enjoyment While Reading News and Novels
Unformatted Document Text:  News Narratives 4 Likewise, Brewer and Lichtenstein (1981, 1982) argued that so-called story grammars would only form plan schemata depicting goal-directed events and would not meet intuitions on storyhood. "[W]hat is missing […] are constructs relating to the emotive effects of stories [...]. The discourse force of stories is to entertain the reader by arousing certain affective states—not simply to transmit information about sequences of events" (Brewer & Lichtenstein, 1981, p. 365). They postulated a 'structural-affect theory of stories' that aims to explain affective reactions to text structures meeting intuitive concepts of a 'story.' The theory has gained substantial empirical support (Brewer & Lichtenstein, 1981, 1982) and will serve as basis for the following theoretical and empirical investigation of news stories. Brewer and Lichtenstein (1981, 1982) used a well-established distinction by separating event structure and discourse structure. The former refers to what is told, meaning the depiction of events and actions in their chronological order. The latter refers to how the story is told, or the sequential order of events as they are presented in the narrative. The structural-affect theory, then, predicts that certain combinations of event and discourse structure lead to affective reactions such as suspense or curiosity 2 while following the narrative. In more detail Brewer and Lichtenstein (1982, p. 481) postulated that, in order to evoke suspense, a narrative must contain an initiating event and an outcome. The so-called initiating event, presented early in the text, could bring about either positive or negative significant consequences for characters in the narrative and, thus, instigates on-lookers' concern, resulting in suspense. It is important to note that suspense is an affective reaction on the spectators' part, whereas the fictional characters may not even be aware of the possible consequences. Before the resolution of suspense by the outcome, presented in the end of the narrative, supplementary material allows a rise of suspense while following the presentation. Hence, the initiating event is a precondition for suspense, while the outcome resolves suspense and is more important for closure. Hence, the outcome is crucial for meeting expectations on storyhood intuitions on the audience' part, as Brewer and Lichtenstein (1982) have shown.

Authors: Knobloch, Silvia. and Carpentier, Francesca.
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News Narratives 4
Likewise, Brewer and Lichtenstein (1981, 1982) argued that so-called story grammars would
only form plan schemata depicting goal-directed events and would not meet intuitions on storyhood.
"[W]hat is missing […] are constructs relating to the emotive effects of stories [...]. The discourse force
of stories is to entertain the reader by arousing certain affective states—not simply to transmit
information about sequences of events" (Brewer & Lichtenstein, 1981, p. 365). They postulated a
'structural-affect theory of stories' that aims to explain affective reactions to text structures meeting
intuitive concepts of a 'story.' The theory has gained substantial empirical support (Brewer &
Lichtenstein, 1981, 1982) and will serve as basis for the following theoretical and empirical
investigation of news stories.
Brewer and Lichtenstein (1981, 1982) used a well-established distinction by separating event
structure and discourse structure. The former refers to what is told, meaning the depiction of events and
actions in their chronological order. The latter refers to how the story is told, or the sequential order of
events as they are presented in the narrative. The structural-affect theory, then, predicts that certain
combinations of event and discourse structure lead to affective reactions such as suspense or curiosity
2
while following the narrative.
In more detail Brewer and Lichtenstein (1982, p. 481) postulated that, in order to evoke suspense,
a narrative must contain an initiating event and an outcome. The so-called initiating event, presented
early in the text, could bring about either positive or negative significant consequences for characters in
the narrative and, thus, instigates on-lookers' concern, resulting in suspense. It is important to note that
suspense is an affective reaction on the spectators' part, whereas the fictional characters may not even
be aware of the possible consequences. Before the resolution of suspense by the outcome, presented in
the end of the narrative, supplementary material allows a rise of suspense while following the
presentation. Hence, the initiating event is a precondition for suspense, while the outcome resolves
suspense and is more important for closure. Hence, the outcome is crucial for meeting expectations on
storyhood intuitions on the audience' part, as Brewer and Lichtenstein (1982) have shown.


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