Chapter

The Road to Public Surveillance: Breeching Attention Thresholds

Doris A. Graber

in The Affect Effect

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226574417
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226574431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226574431.003.0011
The Road to Public Surveillance: Breeching Attention Thresholds

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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

Chapter.  9589 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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