Moral Judgment and Crime Drama: An Integrated Theory of Enjoyment


  • Arthur A. Raney,

    1. Arthur A. Raney (PhD, University of Alabama) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Florida State University.
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  • Jennings Bryant

    1. Jennings Bryant (PhD, Indiana University) is a professor of communication in the Department of Television and Film at the University of Alabama.
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The article proposes a theoretical framework in which moral reasoning about mediated crime and punishment is defined and combined with existing, affect-driven entertainment theory to yield an integrated theory of enjoyment. The authors analyze how crime dramas serve as statements about justice and then address how moral deliberation about the propriety of those statements impacts enjoyment. The authors report research findings to support the analysis of cognitive processing during crime dramas distinct from affective processing. The article also suggests future means by which the integrated theory of enjoyment can be examined.