On private and public forms of entertainment and psychological mechanisms in entertainment
Entertainment has many dimensions and can be personal/private or more general and public forms of entertainment. When we play with our peers it is a personal form of entertainment and when we sit and watch a movie on the screen it is a more general form of entertainment as we share the experience with many others. There are some differences in our perception of public and private forms of entertainment, as personal entertainment will always be based on personal experiences, our personal worldview, and will be determined by personal interactions.
The more general and public forms of entertainment are less interactive and this basic contradiction seems to exist, as all personal forms of entertainment are more interactive and public forms of entertainment are more personal and private. This scenario has been changing with television programs increasing audience participation in the program; however, the patterns of interaction between performers and viewers in any public entertainment setting remain within strict bounds and boundaries.
Entertainment takes us to a different world and feeds our need for fantasy and escape from real life. This is especially true for entertainment that is more public or provided by the media and entertainment provided by movies, theater, music, and all forms of creative art. Cinema and theater transport us to a world of fantasy and capture our attention so that we remain absorbed as almost a part of this alternate reality. Entertainment could also be in the form of magazine stories and gossip or even celebrity culture and the psychology of entertainment could also explain the extreme insanity of celebrity culture that we have in the modern world.
Celebrities seem to open up a world of fantasies, and for some people, knowing the celebrities’ every move could bring them immense satisfaction, as it would almost mean engaging in fantasies. Fantasies help overcome frustrations and are therapeutic, as they help to escape from the realities of life. Real emotions and real life are stressful and entertainment helps us move beyond real life and stressful moments to engage in fantasies that are relaxing as we don’t have to be directly involved in these fantasies and yet , as spectators, we can still participate in an unspoken. or passive way.
Engaging in any book, movie, or creative art is almost like sitting in a recliner chair that has the technology to soothe your muscles while you relax. In the case of entertainment, we participate almost passively, and although we can be very alert and awake in the process of watching a movie, entertainment gives us the illusion of not participating, since we do not have the opportunity to engage voluntarily. stage. Anything that gives us some kind of pleasure could be considered entertainment, although entertainment could also cause us pain, such as when we cry when we become emotionally involved with the characters while watching a movie.
Entertainment could trigger emotional involvement and emotional reactions such as happiness, sadness, anxiety, fear, and despite this strong emotional involvement, little or no physical activity is required on the part of the viewer. This active-passive process is the main attraction of entertainment, since entertainment allows us to be both active (in terms of emotion) and passive (in terms of voluntary physical or mental participation). Entertainment means that movies are influential, but they influence subtly rather than aggressively, and this subtle influence seems to work better on the human mind than any aggressive form of influence. We see work as a duty and entertainment as a pleasure, although both involve some kind of emotional commitment. The work requires voluntary participation, decision-making and physical involvement along with emotional involvement at the same time.
However, why is work perceived as drudgery and entertainment as relaxation methods? The answer is unpredictability. In the case of entertainment, in most cases we may not even know what to expect from a movie or music video. This unpredictability arouses our interest since we cannot predict what emotional states will be evoked during this mental adventure. Entertainment is often a form of mental and emotional adventure. In cases where we know what a movie is about, it is the feeling of emotional familiarity that prompts us to experience what we already know. Suppose that a video game gives us a pleasant sensation or evokes aggression and competitiveness in us, we feel the same emotion that was pleasant or exciting again. Overextended, these forms of entertainment could easily become addictive.
Going back to the distinction between work and entertainment or play, work implies responsibility and despite the emotional involvement in entertainment, apart from being a passive participant, we don’t have to be responsible for anything, there is no problem solving or decision making. decisions and such. This is how entertainment in all its forms is so pleasurable, since the right brain activities related to decision making and the cortical regions of the brain are not fully activated, but the sensations of pleasure and emotions, as the activities of the hypothalamus and the left brain are usually activated, so we tend to associate entertainment with emotions rather than problem solving and decision making.
Humans are rational beings, and yet emotions still seem to rule our lives and form the core of our existence, as emotions still drive us to do things that may be irrational. Entertainment, which mainly provokes emotions rather than causes reasons, has a great impact on people’s lives. Appreciating any form of entertainment could change from interest stages to emotional involvement and finally addiction. Celebrity culture is a direct result of later stages of entertainment appreciation.
Interest in celebrities stems from emotional involvement with movie characters and there can be a substantial lack of differentiation between fantasy and reality, so celebrity fans are more enamored with the characters these celebrities portray or of the traits that project that of the personality of the celebrities. Celebrity culture seems to take people into a persistent fantasy world and people are seen as discussing every aspect of celebrities, from their shoes to their hairstyle to the cars they own. However, this type of culture could be explained by the individual need to escape reality and identify with someone in a fantasy world and would be an important element in the study of fantasy.
The study of entertainment brings to light many psychological aspects of active-passive participation in emotional or mental adventures and these could be
1. Identification: Viewers often identify with movie characters or art figures and this strong identification helps explain the entertainment value. Young children have seen movie stars imitate as they begin to identify with the characters in the movies.
2. Fantasy: Entertainment feeds on people’s need for fantasy and provides an escape route from the real world. Entertainment addiction could be the basis of reality anxiety in people.
3. Projection: People tend to project their own emotions or moods onto a painting or song and may derive pleasure from this.
4. Regression – Entertainment can often remind people of their past or a part of their own life that they may have forgotten, and in some cases bring out the child in them. For example, when older people enjoy video games, it brings back their childhood and they can become addicted to this type of entertainment.
5. Sublimation: Entertainment is also a form of sublimation of our impulsive desires and this is especially true when we engage in entertainment as in the performance of art.
6. Displacement: In non-participatory and passive forms of entertainment, people tend to escape reality and shift their emotions from real people to movie characters. For example, a teenager in love with a girl he cannot reach may fall in love with a character in a movie who may have similarities to the girl in her dreams.
All of the above processes are ego defense mechanisms described by Freud and the interplay of so many defense mechanisms in entertainment suggests that entertainment is more than just a source of pleasure and could trigger complex psychological processes in the human mind. More research in this field of psychology would be required for a full understanding of the advantages or disadvantages of entertainment in modern society.
From Reflections in Psychology – Saberi Roy