Suspense As an Experience of Mixed Emotions: Feelings of Hope and Fear While Watching Suspenseful Commercials

Robert Madrigal, University of Oregon
Colleen Bee, University of Oregon
ABSTRACT - Advertisers frequently use creative appeals in television commercials to elicit consumer attention. One such appeal that is designed to enhance consumer interest is suspense. We report the results of two experiments studying the constituent emotions comprising the experience of suspense. Consistent with appraisal theory, Study 1 provides evidence that hope and fear do indeed underpin the suspense experience. Study 2 also examines the independent contribution of hope and fear to suspense. However, instead of assessing each emotion retrospectively, we investigate in-situ suspense by measuring respondents’ moment-to-moment hope and fear reactions. Significant within-subject differences between suspenseful and nonsuspenseful commercials are reported for a variety of aggregate time-series measures.
[ to cite ]:
Robert Madrigal and Colleen Bee (2005) ,"Suspense As an Experience of Mixed Emotions: Feelings of Hope and Fear While Watching Suspenseful Commercials", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 561-567.