While watching movies the spectators can organize their reception widely free of behavioural constraints. In such a safe situation, the recipients are more willing to allow for uncertainty and to test their boundaries. They practice a controlled loss of control. It is a central aspect of entertainment for recipients to regain control every time they want to. To theoretically and methodologically conceptualize the experience of control, we chose a model of different strategies for down-regulating negative emotions as a starting point. We differentiate and expand the model, and provide a systematization to operationalize such strategies. To underline the assumptions, we refer to data gathered in a study conducted to investigate cognitive and emotional reactions to an animated short film. In this study, beside other measures, the faces of the consenting participants were videotaped during the reception. Describing selected cases, we focus on facial and also bodily indicators of emotion regulation strategies during reception.

Bleuel, F., & Suckfüll, M. (2011). Under Control. Emotion Regulation in Film Reception. In A. Freitas-Magalháes (Ed.), Emotional Expression – The brain and the face. 3rd Volume Studies in Brain, Face and Emotion (pp. 239-265). eBook. Porto: Edicoes Universidade Fernando Pessoa.