Appreciation of Entertainment: The Importance of Meaningfulness via Virtue and Wisdom
The purpose of this article is to examine the experience of appreciation to media entertainment as a unique audience response that can be differentiated from enjoyment. To those ends, the first section provides a conceptualization of appreciation in which we outline how we are using the term and how it is distinct from questions of emotional valence. The second section discusses the types of entertainment portrayals and depictions that we believe are most likely to elicit feelings of appreciation. Here, we suggest that appreciation is most evident for meaningful portrayals that focus on human virtue and that inspire audiences to contemplate questions concerning life’s purpose. In the final section we consider the affective and cognitive components of appreciation, arguing that mixed-affective responses (rather than bi-polar conceptualizations of affective valence) better capture the experience of appreciation and its accompanying feelings states such as inspiration, awe, and tenderness.