Emotionalization in new television formats of science popularization
The fierce struggle for television audiences is greatest when the content shown is not strictly entertainment, such as, for example, when specialized knowledge is brought to a wide audience. However, the appearance of new television formats has enabled scientific and technical contents to be brought closer to an unprepared and very diverse audience. What resources do these programs use to achieve this? Is emotionalization, which is increasingly dominant in the media, an important strategy in programs that seek to spread scientific knowledge among the general public? Do they use the pluri-locutionary nature of their discourse to promote understanding of the contents and to capture the viewers’ attention? Our research, which forms part of a broader study of new television formats and the communication of knowledge, is the first study on the discourse of the mediatization of knowledge in Spain. The topic is of particular interest because it coincides with the production of innovative television formats that endeavor to capture the interest of sections of the population that usually do not access this type of content. They have an important social function since, as Semir (2011: 19) points out, the knowledge of the world they promote reduces the fear generated in human beings by that which is opaque or unknown, thereby increasing the ability to make decisions and increasing efficiency. Through the linguistic analysis of the statements uttered by the diverse voices of a popular communication program, Quèquicom (Whatwhohow), we will determine which emotions are more present in the program and, therefore, contribute towards its communicative success, and which speakers (presenters, experts or affected individuals) use them more. Determining the resources leading to the success of this program can provide effective tools for other programs with very diverse aims. Studies of this type in Spain have focused on the press but very little on television. This study forms part of a wider research project on new television formats and the communication of knowledge to different audiences and diverse levels of specialization. It has been proven that emotions join together to provide a dramatic progression, based on the tension-relaxation binomial, a progression that holds the audience’s interest, in a similar manner to dramatic fiction programs. Moreover, the emotions can be examined in three ways: they can be referred to as a fact in the reality being narrated, expressed by the speakers or triggered in the audience. Lastly, it was also observed that the emotional charge that justifies the presence of affected individuals or witnesses in the majority of television programs spreads to the voices of the presenters themselves. The transmission of emotions is almost as important as that of knowledge.
Keywords: Media discourse, Emotions, Popularization, Television
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) 4.0 license.
Published online: 01 December 2013
Barlett, Ch.P., and D.A. Gentile
Berger, Seymour M.
Bryant, J., and D. Zillmann
Calsamiglia, H., and C. López Ferrero
(2003) Role and position of scientific voices: Reported speech in the media. Discourse Studies 5.2: 147–73. BoP
Calsamiglia, H., and T. Van Dijk
(2004) Popularization discourse and knowledge about the genome. Discourse and Society 15.4: 369–89. BoP
Cosmides, L., and J. Tooby
Cros, A., M. Bassols, G. Brunat, and C. Gónzalez
De Semir, Vladimir
Detenber, B.H., and A. Lang
Döveling, K., Ch. von Scheve, and E.A. Konijn
Ewoldsen, D.R., J.H. Yu, and N. Rhodes
Fredrickson, Barbara L.
Friestad, M., and E. Thorson
Frijda, Nico H.
Galati, D., B. Sini, S. Estaún Ferrer, O. Soler Vilageliu, and P.M. Mateos García
Gerbner, G., L. Gross, M. Morgan, and N. Signorielli
Hamilton, V., G.H. Bower, and N.H. Frijda
Kleinginna, P.R., and A.M. Kleinginna
Konijn, E.A., and J.M. ten Holt
Lang, A., P. Bolls, R.F. Potter, and K. Kawahara
Lang, A., and D.R. Ewoldsen
Lazarus, Richard S.
Lewis, M., and J.M. Haviland-Jones
(eds.) Handbook of Emotions 2nd edn New York City, NY Guilford
Miceli, M., and C. Castelfranchi
(2003) Discourse studies of scientific popularization: Questioning the boundaries. Discourse Studies 5.2: 265–79. BoP
Nabi, R.L., D.R. Ewoldsen. and F.D. Carpentier
Oliver, M.B., and J.K. Wooley
Ortony, A., G.L. Clore, and A. Collins
(1988) The Cognitive Structure of Emotions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. MetBib
Raney, Arthur A.
Russell, James A.
Santamaria, L., and G. Brunat
Santamaria, L., M. Bassols, and A.M. Torrent
Scherer, Klaus R.
Schmitz, B., and U. Lewandrowski
Schwab, F., and C. Schwender
Turner, Monique M.
Unz, Dagmar C.
Van Leeuwen, Theo
Vorderer, P., and S. Knobloch
Wirth, W., and H. Schramm
Zillmann, D., and J. Bryant
Zillmann, D., and J.R. Cantor