Selective Exposure To Televised Comedy Programs

Norman J. Medoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The present study was designed to explore further the general relationship between affective state and selective exposure to televised entertainment and to clarify the recent finding that people in a negative affective state tend to avoid comedy programs. Three theoretical explanations are examined. The first is based on considerations of relief and predicts that people in a negative affective state will seek out comedy. The second is based on theories regarding incompatible emotional expression and leads to the expectation that people in a negative affective state would not feel like laughing and therefore avoid comedy. A third suggests, like the first, that due to considerations of relief, people should seek out comedy, but adds the stipulation that people will avoid programs that potentially reinstate affective states that they are motivated to avoid. Therefore, the prediction from this rationale is that acutely annoyed persons will avoid comedy that features insult and ridicule. The present study was designed to test this prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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