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The Role of Transportation in the Persuasiveness of Public Narrative

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Transportation was proposed as a mechanism whereby narratives can affect beliefs. Defined as absorption into a story, transportation entails imagery, affect, and attentional focus. A transportation scale was developed and validated. Experiment 1 (N = 97) demonstrated that extent of transportation augmented story-consistent beliefs and favorable evaluations of protagonists. Experiment 2 (N = 69) showed that highly transported readers found fewer false notes in a story than less-transported readers. Experiments 3 (N = 274) and 4 (N = 258) again replicated the effects of transportation on beliefs and evaluations; in the latter study, transportation was directly manipulated by using processing instructions. Reduced transportation led to reduced story-consistent beliefs and evaluations. The studies also showed that transportation and corresponding beliefs were generally unaffected by labeling a story as fact or as fiction.
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... Exposure conditions are external elements (independent of the message) that influence how individuals process narratives. In the field of research on narrative persuasion, variables linked to exposure conditions have received less attention than internal attributes of the message (Dahlstrom et al., 2017), and are usually manipulated experimentally aiming to reduce (Green & Brock, 2000;Kaufman & Libby, 2012) or increase (Igartua et al., 2019;Sestir & Green, 2010) involvement with the message or its characters. ...
... The main theoretical models on narrative persuasion consider that identification with characters and narrative transportation constitute processes that promote persuasive impact, since absorption in the message inhibits the capacity for counterarguing, facilitating attitudinal impact (Bilandzic & Busselle, 2013;de Graaf & van Leeuwen, 2017;Green & Brock, 2000;Moyer-Gusé, 2008;Slater & Rouner, 2002). ...
... This process helps to understand why people who engage with a narrative or identify with its characters are more easily persuaded (Bilandzic & Busselle, 2013;Fitzgerald & Green, 2017;Moyer-Gusé, 2008;Slater & Rouner, 2002). When people are involved in a narrative, their capacity or motivation to counterargue is diminished, thus making it difficult for them to critically analyze the attitudinal information present in the story (Green & Brock, 2000;Green & Sestir, 2017). It is also proposed that identification with the characters and counterarguing are incompatible responses, since when an individual identifies with a character, they (momentarily) acquire (merge with) their identity, thus resulting in a temporary loss of self-awareness that hinders critical reception of the message (Kaufman & Libby, 2012). ...
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