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

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.


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.


Robert Madrigal, University of Oregon
Colleen Bee, University of Oregon


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32 | 2005

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


L11. Consumer Search Mode Produces Unintended Marketing Consequences

Dan King, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA
Sumitra Auschaitrakul, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce

Read More


Sustainable Luxury: a Paradox or a Desirable Consumption?

Jennifer Jung Ah Sun, Columbia University, USA
Silvia Bellezza, Columbia University, USA
Neeru Paharia, Georgetown University, USA

Read More


Machine Talk: How Conversational Chatbots Promote Brand Intimacy and Influence Consumer Choice

Thomas Hilden, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Christian Hildebrand, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Gerald Häubl, University of Alberta, Canada

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.