Toward a general psychological model of tension and suspense

Lehne, Moritz and Koelsch, Stefan (2015) Toward a general psychological model of tension and suspense. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. ISSN 1664-1078

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Abstract

Tension and suspense are powerful emotional experiences that occur in a wide variety of contexts (e.g., in music, film, literature, and everyday life). The omnipresence of tension and suspense suggests that they build on very basic cognitive and affective mechanisms. However, the psychological underpinnings of tension experiences remain largely unexplained, and tension and suspense are rarely discussed from a general, domain-independent perspective. In this paper, we argue that tension experiences in different contexts (e.g., musical tension or suspense in a movie) build on the same underlying psychological processes. We discuss key components of tension experiences and propose a domain-independent model of tension and suspense. According to this model, tension experiences originate from states of conflict, instability, dissonance, or uncertainty that trigger predictive processes directed at future events of emotional significance. We also discuss possible neural mechanisms underlying tension and suspense. The model provides a theoretical framework that can inform future empirical research on tension phenomena.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Frontiers in Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200
Subjects:
ID Code:
73833
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
31 Jul 2015 09:04
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
28 Apr 2020 03:15