I'm seeking a word for the experience of being intensely, vividly involved in a TV show or novel.

I have a continuous event occur when I am reading or watching tv...that I'm not exactly sure how to describe. If a show or novel gets really intense I have a habit of getting...overwhelmed by what is occurring. Like...it feels real and like I am a part of it and I get nervous and my heart rate speeds up and I feel like it's actually happening and I end up needing to take a break from what I'm doing sit and breath for awhile and remind myself that it's not real.

Is there a word for this situation?

  • Immersive ? These days technology is being developed to build "immersive" systems, (which is too mundane compared to the immersive experience of one deeply engrossed in a piece of fiction, a play, a movie or a TV show. – Kris Oct 16 '15 at 6:56

I agree with @Kris' comment that the word you are looking for is immersion. To immerse means to become completely involved in an activity (Longman).

Consider immersive theater, which is designed to invoke just the kind of feeling you are describing.

Many people go to the theatre to lose themselves in the production, to forget their everyday worries and troubles and be transported into another world. However, no kind of theatre transports an audience quite like immersive theatre. In immersive theatre, the audience are not merely passive bystanders. They are part of the story, however small their role may be, and they are in the middle of the action.


(The example above shows that the expression to lose oneself in may also work in context.)

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  • That's been suggested in comments. – Kris Nov 5 '15 at 16:10
  • Yes, but with a question mark after it, without a reference, and without mentioning "to lose onesefl in". That said, I wouldn't mention immersion if you'd made your comment a full-blown answer. Edit: added credit to your comment in my answer. – A.P. Nov 5 '15 at 16:17

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