Retrial of Amanda Knox begins
NBC News: The retrial of Amanda Knox has opened in the Italian city of Florence, but Knox was not in attendance.
The Italian court is expected to re-examine forensic evidence from the death of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher to determine whether Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito helped kill her.
Photo: Amanda Knox arrives at the court during her appeal trial session in Perugia, Italy, on Sept. 30, 2011. (Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters)
Do all flowers have associations like this?
Media psychologists … have been trying to understand why people subject themselves to entertainment that they know will elicit negative emotions.
Dolf Zillmann, widely recognized as the founder of entertainment psychology as a field of study, theorized that the answer lies in the emotional intensity these types of shows make us feel. His excitation transfer theory says that we can experience a wide range of emotions while we watch distressing shows, and that all the excitement from each of those emotions builds up while we watch. … Experiencing intense stress might not be very pleasurable while it’s happening, but according to excitation transfer theory, all that intensity can carry over to boost positive emotions like relief or happiness if the episode ends on a good note. In other words, enduring some emotional turmoil during viewing can actually heighten the rewards of a happy ending.
Other media research suggests that we seek out hard-to-watch shows because it makes us feel more competent and in control during emotionally difficult situations. … Watching [such shows] makes us feel sad, anxious, or aghast, but in reflecting on our emotional reactions (which often seem appropriate) we may conclude that we are very in-touch, sympathetic, and humane. This feels good. This can even make the experience of watching a fictional portrayal of terrible events somewhat enjoyable.”
Several theories on the psychology of why watching stressful TV shows appeals to us.
For a deeper look, see The SAGE Handbook of Media Processes and Effects.
“For example, there was a scene where Walter and Jesse are looking for a gallon container of methylamine and all they find are 30-gallon drums. So they emailed me and asked, “How much meth could be made from 30 gallons of methylamine in pounds using the P2P method?” And I just thought that was hilarious.”
— Dr. Donna Nelson, a chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma and Breaking Bad's science advisor (via theweekmagazine)
'Breaking Bad' finale draws record 10.3 million viewers
The Hollywood Reporter: AMC’s “Breaking Bad” finale averaged 10.3 million viewers during its original broadcast on Sunday.
The episode aired head-to-head against Sunday Night Football, scripted premieres on the Big Four and the return of Showtime’s Homeland.
Football aside, Breaking Bad is on track to be Sunday’s strongest performer in the targeted adults 18-49 demographic. The show brought in a 6.7 million viewers in the advertiser-friendly age group.
"Breaking Bad" premiered to 1.41 million viewers in 2008. Last week, the show had 6.6 million viewers.
Photo credit: AMC via The Hollywood Reporter
When I started teaching community college, I expected my classes to be made up of older people looking for a “second chance.” I was wrong.
Read more. [Image: John Keane/Flickr]