Good News, Bad News, and Affect

Douglas W. Maynard*, Jeremy Freese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


When we deliver or receive bad and good tidings, it momentarily disrupts involvement in a social world whose contours and features we ordinarily take for granted. Along with this disruption more or less strong emotions may be evoked and displayed. This chapter examines how participants in interaction manage affective experiences and reactions according to the unfolding of a prototypical four-turn news delivery sequence (NDS). Participants present and receive news with characteristic prosodic features associated with joy (good news) or sorrow (bad news) in each of the turns. The chapter addresses theoretical literatures in the sociology and social psychology of emotions and suggests, along the lines of the social construction of affect and emotion, that there is practical and temporal work to manage displays of emotion. This work operates in conjunction with other devices whereby participants interactionally establish the valence of the news.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEmotion in Interaction
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199950034
ISBN (Print)9780199730735
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012


  • Affect
  • Bad news
  • Emotion
  • Good news
  • Prosody
  • Social construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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