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The Road to Public Surveillance: Breeching Attention Thresholds

The Road to Public Surveillance: Breeching Attention Thresholds

Chapter:
(p.265) Chapter Eleven The Road to Public Surveillance: Breeching Attention Thresholds
Source:
The Affect Effect
Author(s):
Doris A. Graber
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226574431.003.0011

This chapter forces emotion-driven attention out of the laboratory and into the buzzing confusion of everyday life. The key to resolving the attention-arousal puzzle seems to lie in producing fear- or anxiety-arousing content and alerting the audience to the impending dangers. It is noted that stories that have many or powerful fear-arousing elements are potent enough to arouse the surveillance system of large numbers of viewers, inducing them to pay close attention to political news. The magnitude of the danger as related in the story, rather than its visual and vocal aspects, appears to be the most important aspect of arousal. It is hoped that experiments that test the arousal potential of combinations of the various elements that have been determined will shed further light on the findings reported.

Keywords:   attention, arousal, fear, anxiety, dangers, surveillance system, political news

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