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Same story, different attitude: Do different processes in narrative persuasion influence general and personal evaluations?

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We present exploratory research to propose that the Transportation-Imagery Model (Green & Brock, 2000) underlies how individuals form general evaluations in response to reading narratives, while the Fiction as Cognitive and Emotional Simulation Model (Oatley, 1999) underlies how individuals form personal evaluations in response to reading narratives. In our study, 100 participants first gave an indication of their own past drinking experiences. They then read a narrative about binge drinking, completed measures of general and personal risks of binge drinking, a transportation scale, and intentions to reduce alcohol intake. Participants who were more transported into the narrative reported binge drinking to be more risky in general but did not rate their own drinking behavior as risky. In contrast, participants who had reported drinking more thought binge drinking to be less risky in general, but that their own drinking behavior was more risky. Further, general risk perceptions were not predictive of intentions to reduce alcohol intake, whereas previous experience was predictive of such intentions. These exploratory findings are discussed with respect to how narratives influence individuals’ attitudes, and how they may offer new directions for future research.
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Keywords: attitudes; fiction; narrative persuasion; simulation; transportation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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