Mundorf,Gender Socialization of Horror. Brown,Pornography and Erotica. Oppliger,Humor and Learning. Sundar,News Features and Learning. Gibson,Effects of Photography on Issue Perception. King,Humor and Mirth. Knobloch,Suspense and Mystery. Raney,Enjoyment of Sports Spectatorship. Tamborini,Enjoyment and Social Functions of Horror. Miron,Enjoyment of Violence. Harrison,Fitness and Excitation. Knobloch, N. Aust,Factors in the Appeal of News. The excitation-transfer process is not limited to a single emotion  cf.
Zillmann, , , For example, when watching a movie, a viewer may be angered by seeing the hero wronged by the villain, but this initial excitation may intensify the viewer's pleasure in witnessing the villain's punishment later.
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Thus, although the excitation from the original stimulus of seeing the hero wronged was cognitively accessed as anger, the excitation after the second stimulus of seeing the villain punished is cognitively assessed as pleasure, though part of the excitation from the second stimulus is residual from the first. However, the excitation-transfer process requires the presence of three conditions. One: the second stimulus occurs before the complete decay of residual excitation from the first stimulus  e. Two: there is the misattribution of excitation, that is, after exposure to the second stimulus, the individual experiencing the excitation attributes full excitation to the second stimulus  e.
Three: the individual has not reached an excitatory threshold before exposure to the second stimulus  e. Excitation-transfer theory is based largely on Clark Hull's notion of residual excitation i. As Bryant and Miron stated:. Zillmann collapsed and connected Hull's drive theory and Schachter's two-factor theory, which posited an excitatory and a cognitive component of emotional states. In contrast to Hull's hypothesis that excitatory reactions "lose" their specificity under new stimulation, Schachter claimed that emotional arousal is nonspecific, and the individual cognitively assess the emotion he is experiencing for the purpose of behavioral guidance and adjustment.
Zillmann adopted and modified Schacter's view on this. In other words, excitation-transfer theory is based on the assumption that excitation responses are, for the most part, ambiguous and are differentiated only by what emotions the brain assigns to them. As Zillmann stated, "Residual excitation from essentially any excited emotional reaction is capable of intensifying any other excited emotional reaction. The degree of intensification depends, of course, on the magnitude of residues prevailing at the time"  p.
Hence, excitation transfer theory helps to explain the fickleness of emotional arousal i.
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As Bryant and Miron explained, "Growing concern about the increasingly violent media content in the late s and early s spurred debate over the possible effects of such content on the real-life behavior of media consumers"  p. Eventually, excitation-transfer theory became one of the dominant theoretical underpinnings for predicting, testing , and explaining the effects of such media e. Zillmann stated that "Communication-produced excitation may serve to intensify or 'energize' post-exposure emotional states"  p.
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Communication and Emotion: Essays in Honor of Dolf Zillmann - CRC Press Book
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