Television messages can be defined a psychological stimulus (A. Lang, 2000). Within this perspective, mediated messages are assumed to be environmental stimuli that posses survival relevance in the forms of valence and arousal in its content (A. Lang & Friestad, 1993; Wang & A. Lang, 2006). Therefore, mediated messages automatically activate the human motivational systems. Through activating the human motivational system, mediated messages influence human’s ongoing emotional experience (A. Lang, 2006a).
Television messages are composed of two streams of variously redundant information, one audio and one video (A. Lang, 2000). These streams of information are continuous, and both the audio and the video channels carry story, content (including motivational significance), and structural information (Basil, 1994a; A. Lang, 2000; Thorson, Reeves, & Schleuder, 1985). Visual channel carries the context in which the story is set; it can include still pictures, moving pictures, text, live action images, animated images, or a combination of these. The auditory channel serves the script or storyline of a television program; it can also have natural sound information, or sound effects (A. Lang, 2006a; Russell, 2002).
Regarding the television research under the LC4MP paradigm, it have been discussed the relationship between emotional audiovisual content, emotional experience, and cognitive response. Studies have proved viewers have better memory for arousing or negative audiovisual content (Grabe, A. Lang, & Zhao, 2003; A. Lang et al., 1996). On the other hand, researches also point out that the structural feature in audiovisual messages like fast edits (A. Lang, Zhou, Schwartz, Bolls, & Potter, 2000) or fast pacing (A. Lang, Bolls, Potter, & Kawahara, 1999) can increase viewer’s magnitude of arousal.
In terms of auditory messages (like radio advertisements), it can elicit emotional responses and these vary based on messages’ emotional tone. (Bolls et al., 2001) examined the emotional tone in advertisements, and listeners’ emotional and cognitive responses to these advertisements. The results showed the zygomatic muscle activity was greater for positive radio advertisement and corrugator muscle activity was greater for negative radio advertisement. Moreover, participants would have better memory for arousing messages. Like audiovisual messages, it believed that the structural feature like voice changes can elicit orienting response and then decrease the cognitive resource (Potter, 2000).
There is no researches investigate how the visual track in television affect viewers’ emotional experience or cognitive response. Since some of video information in television contains still pictures, it is warranted to use picture message studies to infer how visual information in television influence viewer’s emotional experience or cognitive response. Peter Lang and his colleagues used International Affective Picture System (IAPS) (P. J. Lang, M. M. Bradley, &...