On being Happy through Entertainment

Hedonic and Non-Hedonic Entertainment Experiences

Authored by: Matthias Hofer , Diana Rieger

The Routledge Handbook of Positive Communication

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138633278
eBook ISBN: 9781315207759
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter will introduce different forms of experiences that can be obtained through consumption of media entertainment. Research on entertainment theory was long been dominated by a hedonic perspective, assuming that human beings turn to entertaining offerings in the aim to experience fun, thrill, or suspense. However, this view was challenged by the observation that human beings also consume sad, serious, poignant, and thought-provoking entertainment products. As a result, two-process models of entertainment were introduced that explain two different processes; one hedonic process resulting in enjoyment; and a second non-hedonic process, also able to provoke feelings of appreciation. Both prototypical entertainment experiences, the hedonic and the non-hedonic process, can be triggered by certain antecedents and can further contribute to distinct effects of entertainment consumption, with implications for morality and well-being.

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