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Involved, Transported, or Emotional? Exploring the Determinants of Change in Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior in Entertainment‐Education

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This study examined how 3 constructs-involvement with a specific character, involvement with the narrative (Green and Brock's construct of transportation), and viewers' emotional reaction to the narrative-produce entertainment-education (EE) effects. A pretest/posttest survey of 167 regular viewers measured the effects of exposure to a lymphoma storyline on a television drama, Desperate Housewives. Transportation or involvement with the narrative was the best predictor of change in relevant knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Although involvement with a specific character has been hailed an important direct predictor of EE effects, a structural equation model indicated that character involvement may be more important for its ability to heighten transportation and emotion, which, in turn, produce changes in viewers' knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.
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Journal of Communication ISSN 0021-9916
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Involved, Transported, or Emotional?
Exploring the Determinants of Change
in Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior in
Entertainment-Education
Sheila T. Murphy, Lauren B. Frank, Meghan B. Moran, &
Paula Patnoe-Woodley
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
CA 90291, USA
This study examined how 3 constructs —involvement with a specific character, involvement
with the narrative (Green and Brock’s construct of transportation), and viewers’ emotional
reaction to the narrativeproduce entertainment-education (EE) effects. A pretest/posttest
survey of 167 regular viewers measured the effects of exposure to a lymphoma storyline
on a television drama, Desperate Housewives. Transportation or involvement with the
narrative was the best predictor of change in relevant knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.
Although involvement with a specific character has been hailed an important direct predictor
of EE effects, a structural equation model indicated that character involvement may be more
important for its ability to heighten transportation and emotion, which, in turn, produce
changes in viewers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.
doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01554.x
Every evening, millions of Americans turn on their television and curl up on their
couch, expecting to be entertained. But a growing body of research suggests that
television provides more than just a pleasant pastime. Studies have shown that
television provides an important, often primary, source of health information for
many Americans (Beck, 2004; Brodie et al., 2001; Kaiser Family Foundation, 2002;
Murphy, Hether, & Rideout, 2008). According to one survey, 26% of the public cited
entertainment television as being one of their top sources of health information,
and over half (52%) said they consider the health information contained in these
programs to be accurate (Beck, 2004; Beck & Pollard, 2001).
In addition to the obvious benefit of having widespread reach, there are sev-
eral other compelling reasons for investigating television’s potential to convey
health-related information within the United States (Brown & Walsh-Childers, 2002;
Corresponding author: Sheila T. Murphy; e-mail: smurphy@usc.edu
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 407
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
Singhal & Rogers, 1999). In recent years, Americans have become increasingly intol-
erant of interruptions in their entertainment, such as commercials or public service
announcements (PSAs). As a result commercial sponsors often turn to ‘‘product
placement’’ where products and appeals are directly embedded into popular pro-
grams. Within the health field, groups such as the Kaiser Family Foundation, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others seeking to communicate
prosocial information are similarly attempting to integrate health-related content
directly into popular television storylines a practice often called ‘‘entertainment-
education’’ or EE (Sabido, 2004; Sherry, 2002; Singhal, Cody, Rogers, & Sabido, 2004;
Singhal & Rogers, 1999).
Singhal and Rogers (2002) defined EE as ‘‘the intentional placement of educational
content in entertainment messages’’ (p. 117). In the public health arena, EE has been
embraced as a cost-effective means to communicate health information in an
engaging format to a mass audience (Bouman, 2002; Brodie et al., 2001; Valente
et al., 2007). It has been argued that embedded health messages are more effective
than traditional public service campaigns because they are less ‘‘obvious’’ and, as a
result, viewers may be less resistant to their content (Brown & Walsh-Childers, 2002;
Singhal & Rogers, 1994; Slater, 1997, 2002; Slater & Rouner, 2002). Some researchers
have suggested that one of the main advantages of using an EE strategy over a
more traditional public health campaign that employs PSAs and clinic brochures is
that the use of narratives can lead viewers to become transported into a narrative
world where disbelief is suspended and counterarguing circumvented (Green &
Brock, 2000; Greenberg, Salmon, Patel, Beck, & Cole, 2004; Singhal & Rogers, 1999;
Slater, 2002; Slater, Rouner, & Long, 2006). Still other researchers suggest that health
information delivered through engaging storytelling, involving characters the viewer
already ‘‘knows’’ and cares about, is more likely to be attended to than traditional
health campaigns (Singhal et al., 2004; Singhal & Rogers, 1999; Slater & Rouner,
2002). More recently, Moyer-Gus´
e (2008) has proposed that the ‘‘narrative structure
of entertainment-education messages can overcome reactance by diminishing the
viewer’s perception that the message is intended to persuade’’ (p. 415).
But although a growing body of evidence suggests that health messages conveyed
in popular television programming can produce significant change in viewers’ knowl-
edge, attitudes, and behavior (Bae, 2008; Bae & Kang, 2008; Brodie et al., 2001; Collins,
Elliot, Berry, Kanouse, & Hunter, 2003; Hether, Huang, Beck, Murphy, & Valente, in
press; Keller & Brown, 2002; Kennedy, O’Leary, Beck, Pollard, & Simpson, 2004; Sharf
& Freimuth, 1993; Sharf, Freimuth, Greenspon, & Plotnick, 1996; Slater et al., 2006;
Valente et al., 2007), the precise mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear.
As Moyer-Gus´
e (2008) points out ‘‘despite empirical advances in this area, more work
is needed to understand fully what makes entertainment-education unique from a
message-processing standpoint’’ (p. 407). The present research is an attempt to com-
pare the relative contribution of three mechanisms frequently cited in the EE literature
as underlying these effects— a viewer’s involvement with a particular character; their
involvement with the narrative more generally (measured here by Green and Brock’s
408 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
2000 construct of transportation); and their emotional response to a seven-episode
cancer storyline in the popular primetime program, Desperate Housewives.
Involvement with a particular character
Because of its ability to involve viewers in the lives, loves, and losses of familiar
fictional characters, television may be particularly well-suited to convey health-
related information (Green, 2006). Prior research has shown that, in addition to
direct learning, the modeling of behavior allows for vicarious learning and plays
a pivotal role in behavior change (Bandura, 1977, 2002, 2004a, 2004b). Indeed, a
core premise of Bandura’s (2004a, 2004b) social cognitive theory, which serves as
the theoretical backbone of EE, is that individuals are far more likely to mimic a
behavior that they have seen being performed than one that was recommended but
not demonstrated. But not all models are equally effective. Successful EE relies on the
use of characters with whom viewers can identify, which explains, in part, why white
female viewers the same age as Nancy in thirtysomething were more strongly moved
by this fictitious character’s cancer experiences (Sharf & Friemuth, 1993; Sharf et al.,
1996); whereas young Latinas were particularly influenced by portrayals of young
Latina characters in telenovelas (Singhal & Rogers, 1999). Indeed research suggests
that involvement with characters is positively related to increased attention, mental
rehearsal of the arguments presented, and modeling of behavior (Sharf & Friemuth,
1993; Sharf et al., 1996; Sood, 2002). In summary, viewers appear to learn more from
modelsin this case, fictional television characters — with whom they identify, like,
feel as if they know, or perceive to be similar to themselves (Bandura, 2002).
Unfortunately, distinguishing between these related concepts has proved notori-
ously difficult. For instance, identification has been conceptualized in many ways by
different researchers. Definitions include a viewer’s perceived similarity of a character
(Basil, 1996; Eisenstock, 1984; Liebes & Katz, 1990; Maccoby & Wilson, 1957; Slater &
Rouner, 2002), liking of a character (Basil, 1996; Eisenstock, 1984; Liebes & Katz, 1990;
Maccoby & Wilson, 1957), wanting to be like a character (Basil, 1996; Eisenstock,
1984; Eyal & Rubin, 2003; Giles, 2002; Hoffner, 1996; Liebes & Katz, 1990; Maccoby &
Wilson, 1957), the extent to which one relates to a character (Wilkin et al., 2007), and
an emotional and cognitive process whereby one takes the perspective of a character
(Cohen, 2001, 2006; Eyal & Rubin, 2003). This situation is complicated further by
researchers who combine some of the elements mentioned above but not others. For
example, definitions stemming from Bandura’s (1977, 2004a, 2004b) social cognitive
theory treat identification as consisting of perceived similarity to a character, liking a
character, and wanting to be like a character. Hoffner and Buchanan (2005), however,
take issue with the conflation of perceived similarity and liking with identification,
noting that they are ‘‘related but distinct’’ concepts (p. 326). These researchers argue
that while wishful identification, or wanting to be like a character, is a valid way to
conceptualize identification, perceived similarity, and liking are not. Eyal and Rubin
(2003) contend that wishful identification is valid, whereas perceived similarity is not.
In contrast, Slater and Rouner (2002, p. 178) include both similarity and parasocial
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 409
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
interaction, the pseudorelationship that can form between an audience member and
performer (Horton & Wohl, 1956), in their definition of identification as a process
‘‘in which an individual perceives another person as similar or at least as a person
with whom they might have a social relationship’’ (p. 178).
Still other researchers propose a specific temporal ordering among these related
constructs. Schiappa, Allen, and Greg (2005), for example, posit that parasocial
interaction is a necessary antecedent to identification. Cohen (2006), however, argues
that perceived similarity, liking and wanting to be like a character are not identifica-
tion, instead viewing these constructs as antecedents to identification. According to
Cohen, when a viewer truly identifies with a character, she or he at least momen-
tarilyviews the events happening to the character as if they were happening to
them. Consequently, in Cohen’s view, constructs thought to be antecedents of iden-
tification, such as perceived similarity and liking, need to be sufficiently high in order
for identification to occur, but do not constitute identification in and of themselves.
As evidenced by this brief summary of the extant literature, there is at present
no universally agreed upon conceptual definition of identification. The current
research follows Moyer-Gus´
e’s (2008) lead, and uses the term involvement with
characters to refer to the overarching category of concepts related to viewers’
interaction with specific fictional characters. This overarching category incorporates
the related constructs of identification, wishful identification (a viewer’s wish to
be like the character), similarity, liking, and parasocial interaction, which are often
used interchangeably and/or very differently (see Moyer-Gus´
e, 2008 for a review).
In this article, we examine four variables known to be related to involvement
with a specific character perceived similarity, liking, wishful identification, and
parasocial interaction. We review their relationship to one another, to the related
constructs of transportation and emotion, and their ability to predict change in
viewers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in response to a cancer storyline in a
popular television program.
Involvement with the narrative
Various scholars have noted that humans are innate storytellers (Schank & Abelson,
1995). Less attention has been paid to the logical counterpart of this proposition —that
humans are innately prepared to be influenced by stories (Green, 2004, 2006; Green
& Brock, 2000). But not all narratives are equally influential to all audience members.
Research by Green and Brock (2000) has revealed greater attitude change among
readers who were ‘‘transported’’ into the narrative world: ‘‘To the extent that
individuals are absorbed into a story or transported into a narrative world, they may
show effects of the story on their real-world beliefs. We conceptualize transportation
into a narrative world as a distinct mental process, an integrative melding of attention,
imagery, and feelings’’ (p. 701). In Green and Brock’s theoretical framework, when
an audience member is transported, he or she becomes part of the narrative they
are viewing, hearing, or reading. According to these authors, several processes occur
when one is fully transported. First, the audience member loses awareness of his or her
410 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
surroundings and all cognitive facilities are focused entirely on the mediated world.
Second, transported viewers feel heightened ‘‘emotions and motivations’’ (Green &
Brock, 2000, p. 702). A transported viewer is so completely immersed in the media
world that his or her responses to narrative events are strong, as though they were
actually experiencing those events. Third, when viewers emerge from the transported
state, they are often changed as a result of being so deeply engrossed in the narrative.
Green and Brock (2000, 2002) propose that transportation can be an important
predictor of persuasive effects. It is argued that because a person in a transported
state is engrossed, having devoted his or her cognitive resources to the events playing
out in the narrative, he or she may be less likely to counterargue or to critically
assess the messages in the narrative (Green & Brock, 2000; Kreuter et al., 2007). Slater
and Rouner (2002) similarly noted that engagement with narrative storylines in EE
programs can suppress counterarguing by viewers. Transported individuals are also
likely to view a narrative as being more like a real experience and, consequently, the
lessons of the narrative may ‘‘hit them harder’’ (Green & Brock, 2000). In a series
of experiments where participants were asked to read various stories, Green and
Brock found that an individual’s level of transportation into a written story predicted
subsequent beliefs consistent with the story’s messages. Green (2004) likewise found
that transportation was positively associated with story-related beliefs.
It should be noted, however, that the conceptual relationship between identifica-
tion or involvement with a character and the construct of transportation is murky.
For example, Slater and Rouner (2002) understand identification as a combina-
tion of perceived similarity and liking, whereas transportation involves engagement
or absorption. They note that if an audience member’s motivations for viewing
include vicarious social relationships and experiences, then identification could pre-
dict transportation. However, Slater and Rouner also argue that identification may
actually be an outcome of transportation, stemming from emotional involvement
with a character, which is an effect of absorption (Slater & Rouner, 2002). Cohen
(2006), in contrast, conceives of identification as involving a loss of awareness as
an audience member and an entrance into the fictional world of the characters.
When identification is conceptualized in this way, it becomes increasingly difficult to
differentiate it from transportation. Cohen acknowledges the complex relationship
between these two constructs noting that identification could both precede and come
after transportation. In other words, although viewers are more likely to become
absorbed in the worlds of characters they care about, identification may be impossible
without a reduction of distance between the viewer and the narrative more generally
(Cohen, 2006). Green has likewise grappled with the temporal order between these
constructs suggesting both that identification is a possible outcome of transportation
and that transportation may be a necessary condition for involvement with characters
to occur (Green, 2006; Green, Brock, & Kaufman, 2004). Alternately, Busselle and
Bilandzic (2008) hypothesize that transportation (the sensation of flow in a narrative
plus the loss of awareness of self and surroundings) and identification work together
to produce the broader construct they define as engagement. In summary, it has
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 411
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
been argued by different researchers that involvement with a character may be an
antecedent to transportation (Cohen, 2001; Green et al., 2004; Slater & Rouner,
2002), an outcome of transportation (Cohen, 2001; Green, 2004; Slater & Rouner,
2002), a component of transportation (Sood, 2002) or work alongside transporta-
tion to produce an overall experience of engagement with a narrative (Busselle &
Bilandzic, 2008).
Definitions of involvement with characters that conceptualize it as entering the
world of a character and experiencing things from his or her point of view are more in
line with what is traditionally thought of as transportation; the main difference being
that transportation occurs when an audience member is absorbed into a general
narrative and involvement occurs when an audience member is engaged with a
particular character in the narrative. This article investigates the relationship between
involvement with a narrative and involvement with a specific character by examining
viewers’ transportation into a cancer storyline on Desperate Housewives and thereby
measuring their perceived similarity, liking, wanting to be like, and feeling like they
know the character of Lynette, who is diagnosed and treated for lymphoma.
Emotion
Still other research suggests that it may not be involvement with a character or
being transported that underlies the power of a narrative but rather the emotion that
the story evokes. In fact, Green and Brock (2000) note the early and essential role
that heightened emotions and motivations play in their construct of transportation.
Viewers become absorbed in the dramatic elements in a narrative largely due to
the elements of suspense, romance, conflict, comedy, and triumph over tragedy.
As Dillard and Peck (2000) point out, narratives that involve a series of emotions
have been shown to be particularly gripping and persuasive. And Slater and Rouner
(2002) acknowledge the central role of emotion in EE: ‘‘entertainment education,
especially when it uses an extended serial format, provides substantial opportunity for
emotional investment in fictional characters’’ (p. 185). To assess the role of emotion
as a potential mediator of narrative persuasion effects, this study measured viewers’
emotional response to a familiar fictional character’s battle against cancer.
But what level of emotional response is involved in producing effects such as those
described in the EE literature? It has alternately been suggested that such responses
are differentiated primarily at the level of hedonic valence as positive or negative affect
(Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Murphy & Zajonc, 1993; Pratto, 1994; Tal-Or & Cohen, 2009;
Zajonc, 1980), or are further differentiated at the level of discrete emotions such as
happiness, anger, fear, disgust, or sadness, with each emotion preparing the organism
for a distinct response (Bodenhausen, Sheppard & Kramer, 1994; DeSteno, Petty,
Rucker, Wegener, & Braverman, 2004; Nabi, 2002a, 2002b; Tiedens & Linton, 2001;
see also Dillard & Nabi, 2006 for a review). Each of these levels is hypothesized to have
a different impact on an individual’s information processing and their subsequent
motivation to act. For instance, many theorists have examined the unique roles
played by positive and negative affect in persuasion (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Petty,
412 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
DeSteno & Rucker, 2001; Petty & Wegener, 1998). Johnson and Tversky (1983) and
subsequent researchers have found evidence of mood congruence such that negative
affect inflates and positive affect deflates an individuals’ estimates of the perceived
likelihood of a negative event such as contracting cancer. Moreover, until relatively
recently, the generally accepted view was that, relative to positive affect, negative
affect tended to increase information processing (see Nabi, 2002a, 2002b; Petty &
Wegener, 1998; or Schwarz & Clore, 1996 for a review).
But other lines of research suggest that specific negative emotions can have
different effects on information processing. For instance, Nabi (2002a, 2002b) found
that anger is likely to produce closer information processing of messages than fear.
In summarizing the position of many cognitive appraisal theorists, DeSteno et al.
(2004) argue that ‘‘the bifurcation of emotional phenomenon into positive versus
negative states ...represents a gross oversimplification of emotional experience’’ and
that important distinctions between emotions are lost (p. 43). These authors argue
that if the purpose of the emotion system is to make situationally adaptive responses,
then ‘‘it seems plausible that the ability to experience distinct emotions should result
in their differential influence on many cognitive and motivational processes’’ and
as a result ‘‘may produce distinct effects on persuasion’’ (p. 48). Moreover, they
present data indicating that to the degree that an individual’s emotional state matches
the specific emotional tone of the message, the more attention and acceptance the
message will receive.
To answer the question of what is the correct level of theoretical analysis with
respect to emotion, the current work measures viewers’ self-reported levels of five
discrete emotionshappiness or joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear (Ekman,
1992; Nabi, 2002a, 2002b) in response to a cancer-related storyline on the popular
primetime program Desperate Housewives. This allows us to examine whether different
negative emotions produce differential effects in viewers’ ability to process the
information presented in the cancer storyline as well as whether positive and negative
affect or specific emotions best predict change in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.
Measuring EE effects
A growing body of evidence has documented the effectiveness of entertainment
television in raising viewer awareness of health issues (Brodie et al., 2001; Keller
& Brown, 2002; Kennedy et al., 2004; Sharf & Freimuth, 1993; Sharf et al., 1996).
Importantly, exposure to health information in popular programming not only
impacts viewers’ knowledge about various health issues, but also exposure has been
associated with attitude and behavior change. For example, Sharf et al.’s (1996) study
of the ovarian cancer storyline on thirtysomething reported that 40% of viewers took
some kind of action as a result of being exposed to the storyline and 32% of viewers
came away with insights and new ways of thinking. Singhal and Rogers (1999)
found that the South African television show Soul City increased both discussion
about and information-seeking related to health topics on the show. Brodie et al.
(2001) reported that 51% of regular ER viewers talked with family and friends
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 413
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
about health issues depicted in the program, and approximately one in five regular
ER viewers sought out additional health information after seeing a health storyline
on ER. Furthermore, one in seven viewers said that they spoke with a healthcare
provider because of something they saw on ER. Similarly, Collins et al. (2003)
found increased interpersonal communication following exposure to the Friends
‘‘condom’’ episode with approximately one out of every five viewers in their sample
reporting having talked with an adult about the episode. Hether et al. (2008) likewise
found associations between exposure to breast cancer storylines and self-reported
behavior change including viewers scheduling a breast cancer screening and changes
in attitudes toward preventative mastectomy.
Traditionally, EE outcomes are assessed as influencing knowledge, attitudes, and
practices (KAP) or behavior (Slater & Rouner, 2002; Valente, 2002). For instance, a
particularly powerful lung cancer storyline might heighten a viewer’s knowledge that
smoking causes lung cancer, produce negative feelings about smoking, and potentially
cause them to quit smoking. Because involvement with characters, transportation,
and emotion are thought to produce effects through different mechanisms (see
Moyer-Gus´
e, 2008 for a review), it follows that specific predictors may be more
strongly related to specific outcomes. Thus, we ask:
RQ1: Which of the following conceptsinvolvement with a specific character, involvement
with a narrative more generally, or emotion— best predict EE effects? More specifically,
which concept is most likely to produce an increase in cancer-related (a) knowledge,
(b) attitudes, and (c) behavior?
In addition, the relationship between these variables may be different when
examining a full theoretic model than in models predicting single outcomes. Thus,
our final research question examines how these constructs might operate together to
produce entertainment-education effects.
RQ2: Which combination and ordering of these constructs— involvement with a specific
character, involvement with a narrative, and/or emotionbest predicts entertainment-
education effects?
Method
The Desperate Housewives lymphoma storyline
In this Desperate Housewives six-episode story arc, one of the lead female charac-
ters, Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma and is being treated with chemotherapy. At the end of the third season,
Lynette hit her head, became ill and went to a hospital emergency room to be
examined. A CAT scan of her brain uncovered suspicious looking submandibular
lymph nodes in her neck and a biopsy was ordered. In the following episode, Lynette
received a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and learned that her cancer was
414 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
likely curable, but to be prepared for the hair loss, exhaustion, and nausea from her
chemotherapy treatments.
The Desperate Housewives fourth season began on September 30, 2007 and
continued prominently featuring Lynette’s cancer storyline in ‘‘Now You Know.’’
(On September 23, a summary of the previous season was aired that reminded the
viewer of what had transpired with Lynette.) At this point, Lynette was halfway
through her chemotherapy treatments and had not told her children or friends that
she was ill. She was completely bald but wore a wig to conceal this fact, and showed
frequent signs of severe nausea and exhaustion. She finally told her friends and
comforted them by expressing ‘‘Relax, I am not going to die’’ and showing a positive
attitude promising to ‘‘beat this.’’ In the October 7 episode, ‘‘Smiles of a Summer
Night,’’ Lynette received chemo infusions and learned the importance of having
her friends with her as ‘‘chemo buddies.’’ As the debilitating nausea continued and
Lynette refused to eat, in ‘‘The Game’’ (October 14, 2007), her mother suggested
that she try marijuana to assuage the nausea. Lynette refused, so her mother tricked
her into trying it by baking the marijuana into brownies. The marijuana stopped the
nausea and made Lynette feel substantially better. When she learned of her mother’s
devious act, she reprimanded her and refused to use marijuana again.
On October 21 in ‘‘If There’s Anything I Can’t Stand,’’ Lynette was on a break
from her chemotherapy treatments, feeling better and sexually interested in her
husband once again. Although making love her wig fell off, and her husband’s
attraction waned because of her bald head. He asked her to put the wig back on. In
the October 28 episode ‘‘Art Isn’t Easy,’’ Lynette continued to improve and interact
with her children once again. Even though she received good news that her blood
work had improved, Lynette was fearful that her illness had hurt her children.
Lynette had a PET scan in the November 4 episode ‘‘Now I Know, Don’t Be
Scared,’’ to see if the chemo had eradicated the cancer. Her oncologist arrived
unannounced at the Scavo home that evening to declare that the test results showed
clear lymph nodesLynette was cancer free. In the final episode of the storyline,
‘‘You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover’’ (November 11, 2007), Lynette was recovering
well and ready to resume her motherly duties; the storyline concluded with her
mother finally going home.
Participants
A pretest/posttest survey was administered online by Frank N. Magid Associates.
Magid maintains a database of primetime television viewers willing to be solicited
for survey research. For this project, Magid solicited 23,842 of these subscribers to
participate, using a purposive sampling method to select those who had previously
reported being regular viewers of Desperate Housewives. As an incentive to increase
the response rate, participants were offered $100 gifts chosen by lottery and Desperate
Housewives promotional materials. E-mail solicitations were sent prior to the first
episode in the fourth season, and participants were given 3 days to respond. Of
those solicited, 6,221 responded and started the survey (26%). To be eligible to take
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 415
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
the survey, participants had to be female, aged 18 49 years, and regular viewers of
Desperate Housewives (watch at least two episodes a month). The choice to measure
female viewers’ involvement in this study was made because the outcomes in which
the researchers were interested were inextricably related to being a woman (e.g.,
scheduling a pelvic exam).
Of those who responded to the e-mail solicitation to complete the survey, 502
(8.1%) met all these criteria and were eligible. These people completed the baseline
survey. After the storyline aired, e-mails were sent to 394 participants.1Participants
were given 6 days to complete the survey. Of those solicited, 170 (43%) completed
the final follow-up survey, constituting a panel sample.
Measures
Health status
The baseline survey included a question about whether respondents’ health was
generally excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, or very poor. Responses were coded
on an interval scale from 1 to 6 such that higher numbers indicated better health.
Involvement with a character
To avoid priming a particular character, respondents were asked about their involve-
ment with Lynette Scavo, the character who develops lymphoma, and three of the
other main female protagonists on the show: Bree Van de Camp, Susan Mayer, and
Gabrielle Solis. Respondents were asked to rate how much they liked, how similar
they were to, how much they felt like they knew, and how much they would like to be
like each of these characters. Response options were 10-point Likert scales anchored
by ‘‘not at all’’ and ‘‘a great deal.’’ These questions were included in both the baseline
and follow-up surveys. Only the responses regarding viewers’ involvement with
Lynette are used in this analysis.
Involvement with the narrative
In the follow-up survey, respondents were asked nine questions about their level of
transportation with respect to Lynette’s cancer storyline. These nine items were based
on Green and Brock’s (2000) scale. Participants were asked how strongly they agreed
or disagreed on a 10-point Likert scale with statements such as, ‘‘I was mentally
involved with the story line while watching it.’’
Emotion
Emotional responses to the narrative were assessed in the follow-up survey. Respon-
dents were asked to rate to what extent Lynette’s diagnosis made them feel each of five
basic emotions: sad, disgusted, angry, afraid, and happy on a 10-point Likert scale.
Knowledge
Knowledge was assessed on both the baseline and follow-up surveys. Respondents
were asked to self-report their knowledge of Hodgkin’s lymphoma specifically and
cancer generally on a 10-point Likert scale. These questions were embedded in a list
of foils of other health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and melanoma. In
416 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
addition, participants were asked which of the following symptoms could result from
chemotherapy treatment: (a) nausea/vomiting, (b) paleness, (c) fatigue, (d) hair loss,
and (e) weight gain (reversed). Response options were dichotomous yes/no, and the
number of correct answers out of five was scored.
Attitude
Similarly, respondents reported attitudes toward a cancer diagnosis at both baseline
and follow-up surveys. Respondents were asked to rate on 10-point Likert scales:
(a) how concerned they would be about staying sexually attractive to their partner
(a major part of Lynette’s storyline), (b) how important it would be to know their
family history of cancer, (c) how important it would be to have people to support
them, and (d) how important it would be to maintain an active sex life with their
partner if they were diagnosed with cancer.
Behavior
Given findings that narratives can spark both discussion of the topics addressed and
seeking information about the topic (Brodie et al., 2001; Collins et al., 2003; Hether
et al., in press; Singhal & Rogers, 1999), two distinct types of behavior were addressed:
(a) seeking information about cancer and (b) talking about Hodgkin’s lymphoma
and cancer. In the follow-up survey, respondents reported how likely they were to
(a) talk to someone about cancer, (b) go to a doctor for a check-up, (c) call for more
information about cancer, (d) search the Internet for Web sites on cancer, (e) visit
blogs or chat rooms on cancer, (f) go to the Desperate Housewives homepage for
information on cancer, and (g) go to the Desperate Housewives fan blogs or chat
rooms to discuss the cancer storyline.
In addition, respondents were asked at baseline and at follow-up survey how
much they had talked about Hodgkin’s lymphoma specifically and cancer more
generally with family or friends in the past 30 days. As with the knowledge questions,
these items were embedded in a list of foils of other health topics. There were four
response options: (a) not at all, (b) less than once per week, (c) once per week, and
(d) a few times a week.
Results
Preanalysis
Of the 170 women who completed the survey, three did not answer all of the questions.
Therefore, all analyses include the remaining 167 participants. The respondents
consisted largely of married (65%), Caucasian (84%) women with at least some
college education (81%). The median household income level of the respondents was
between 50,000 and 75,000 dollars.
Prior to conducting the analysis for the research questions, we ran a series of factor
analyses to confirm that the theoretical constructs of involvement with a character,
involvement with a narrative, and emotion could be validly differentiated from each
other. On the basis of an initial factor analysis, the basic emotions were divided into
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 417
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
positive (happy) and negative (sad, disgusted, angry, and afraid). Ultimately, sad also
loaded on involvement and was thus not included in the final negative emotions scale.
Thus, the final negative emotions scale included three items (α=0.77). Following
Moyer-Gus´
e (2008), we combined liking, perceived similarity, wishful identification,
and parasocial interaction into a single construct of involvement with a character
(α=0.75 at Time 1 and 0.70 at Time 2). To achieve factor analysis loadings for
which all of the measures loaded only on their theorized construct, we used five of
the nine transportation items resulting in a five-item scale (α=0.87).
The women who participated in the survey saw a large number of the episodes in
the lymphoma storyline (M=5.7, SD =1.9 of seven possible episodes). In general,
women were highly involved with Lynette (M=7.1, SD =1.7 of 10) and moderately
involved with the storyline (M=5.6, SD =2.3 of 10). However, they were less
likely to report strong emotions in response to the storyline (M=2.1, SD =2.3 for
positive emotion and M=3.9, SD =2.2 for negative emotion). See Table A1 for the
bivariate correlations of Time 2 constructs.
Main analysis
Research Question 1
The first research question was analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The
effects of involvement with a character (Lynette), involvement with a narrative
(the lymphoma storyline), and emotional response to the narrative on knowledge,
attitudes, and behavior were assessed both sequentially and simultaneously (while
controlling for the other theoretical constructs). The regression models control for
health status and the number of episodes viewed (a doseresponse analysis).2The
results of these regression models are shown in Table 1.
For the knowledge regression models, transportation was the best individual
predictor (β=0.30, p<.01). Although both involvement and negative emotion
were also associated with knowledge in the sequential models (β=0.17, p<.05
and β=0.21, p<.05, respectively), the effects of involvement and emotion were
no longer significant in the full model including all theoretical constructs. Similarly,
transportation was the construct that most highly associated with attitudes (β=0.18,
p<.05) and with talking about cancer (β=0.25, p<.01). Finally, information
seeking was strongly related to transportation (β=0.59, p<.01), positive emotion
(β=0.17, p<.01), and negative emotion (β=0.17, p<.05).
Research Question 2
Analysis for this question involved a comparison of a series of five models that include
controls for baseline constructs and that estimate changes in knowledge, attitudes,
and behaviors (Time 2 minus Time 1).3The initial models fitted stemmed from the
results of the regression analyses with paths included from the theoretical constructs
to the outcomes based on significant results. As the relationships within the KAP
(knowledge, attitudes, practices) model were not central to this study, the fit of this
portion of the model was adjusted using modification indexes to create the best
possible fit.
418 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
Table 1 Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion on Knowledge, Attitude, and
Practice (N=167)
Baseline Involvement Transport Emotion Full
Knowledge
Knowledge at baseline 0.63∗∗ 0.60∗∗ 0.53∗∗ 0.61∗∗ 0.53∗∗
Health status 0.03 0.02 0.07 0.04 0.08
# Episodes viewed 0.00 0.03 0.03 0.01 0.03
Involvement 0.17∗∗ 0.03
Transportation 0.33∗∗ 0.30∗∗
Positive emotion 0.02 0.02
Negative emotion 0.21∗∗ 0.06
R20.40 0.43 0.50 0.45 0.50
Attitudes
Attitudes at baseline 0.66∗∗ 0.63∗∗ 0.63∗∗ 0.66∗∗ 0.63∗∗
Health status 0.04 0.05 0.01 0.03 0.02
# Episodes viewed 0.00 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.02
Involvement 0.130.04
Transportation 0.19∗∗ 0.18
Positive emotion 0.06 0.05
Negative emotion 0.06 0.04
R20.44 0.45 0.47 0.45 0.47
Practice: Information seeking
Health status 0.05 0.09 0.02 0.03 0.03
# Episodes viewed 0.10 0.15 0.140.11 0.14
Involvement 0.39∗∗ 0.06
Transportation 0.68∗∗ 0.59∗∗
Positive emotion 0.180.17∗∗
Negative emotion 0.46∗∗ 0.17
R20.01 0.16 0.48 0.32 0.54
Practice: Talking about cancer
Talking at baseline 0.59∗∗ 0.57∗∗ 0.50∗∗ 0.55∗∗ 0.49∗∗
Health status 0.02 0.01 0.04 0.03 0.06
# Episodes viewed 0.03 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Involvement 0.11 0.06
Transportation 0.26∗∗ 0.25∗∗
Positive emotion 0.13 0.13
Negative emotion 0.12 0.03
R20.35 0.36 0.40 0.39 0.42
Note: Standardized beta coefficients from regression models.
p<.05. ∗∗p<.01.
A series of possible models was run, varying the order of the theoretical constructs
(e.g., change in involvement leading to transportation and vice versa). See Figure 1
for the five alternative models tested and Table 2 for their fit statistics. Model 2
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 419
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
Model 1: All theoretical constructs entered at same point (IT, CI, N, P).
Model 2: Best fitting model - Transportation entered before change in involvement and emotion (I T CI, N, P).
Involvement with
Character (Time 1)
Information Seeking
Change in Cancer Discussion
Change in Knowledge
Change in Attitudes
Positive Emotion
Negative Emotion
Transportation
Cancer Discussion (Time 1)
Attitudes (Time 1)
Knowledge (Time 1)
Change in Involvement
with Character
-0.48*
-0.37*
-0.44*
0.52*
1.21*
-0.64*
0.23*
0.47*
0.22*
0.20* 0.15*
0.62*
0.21*
0.21* 0.12*
Involvement with
Character (Time 1)
Change in Involvement
with Character
Information Seeking
Change in Cancer Discussion
Change in Knowledge
Change in Attitudes
Positive Emotion
Negative Emotion
Transportation
Cancer Discussion (Time 1)
Attitudes (Time 1)
Knowledge (Time 1)
0.55*
-0.48*
-0.37*
-0.31*
0.30*
0.18
-0.64*
0.20* 0.15*
0.62*
0.21*
0.21* 0.12*
Model 3: Transportation entered before change in involvement before emotion (
I T CI N, P).
Model 4: Change in involvement entered before transportation and emotion (I CI T, N, P).
Involvement with
Character (Time 1)
Change in Involvement
with Character
Information Seeking
Change in Cancer Discussion
Change in Knowledge
Change in Attitudes
Positive Emotion
Negative Emotion
Transportation
Cancer Discussion (Time 1)
Attitudes (Time 1)
Knowledge (Time 1)
-0.64*
-0.48*
-0.37*
-0.31*
1.29*
0.23
0.30*
0.05
0.20*
0.15*
0.62*
0.21*
0.21* 0.12*
Involvement with
Character (Time 1)
Change in Involvement
with Character
Information Seeking
Change in Cancer Discussion
Change in Knowledge
Change in Attitudes
Positive Emotion
Negative Emotion
Transportation
Cancer Discussion (Time 1)
Attitudes (Time 1)
Knowledge (Time 1) -0.48*
-0.44*
-0.64*
0.21*
0.52*
1.21* 0.12*
0.62*
0.21*
0.20*
0.15*
0.23*
0.3*
0.05
-0.37*
Model 5: Change in involvement entered before transportation before emotion ( I CI T N, P).
Involvement with
Character (Time 1)
Change in Involvement
with Character
Information Seeking
Change in Cancer Talking
Change in Knowledge
Change in Attitudes
Positive Emotion
Negative Emotion
Transportation
Cancer Talking(
Time 1)
Attitudes (Time 1)
Knowledge (Time 1)
0.22*
-0.48*
-0.37*
-0.64*
-0.31*
1.29* 0.47*
0.21*
0.21* 0.12*
0.20* 0.15*
0.62*
0.23
Figure 1 Alternative structural equation models of the effects of involvement, transportation,
and emotion on knowledge, attitudes, and practice.
(involvement transportation change in involvement, negative emotion, and
positive emotion) was a substantially better fit to the data than other models where
all of the theoretical constructs were entered at the same stage or where change in
involvement preceded transportation. Model 2 was an excellent fit to the data with an
RMSEA of 0.06 and a CFI of 0.96. The direct, indirect, and total effects of each of the
420 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
Table 2 Fit Statistics for Alternative Theoretical Models
RMSEA 90% CI
χ2df χ2/df Ratio SRMR RMSEA LowerUpper CFI
Model 1. I T, CI, N, P 198.9 50 3.98 0.16 0.13 (0.110.15) 0.78
Model 2. I TCI, N, P 88.3 45 1.96 0.07 0.06 (0.03 0.08) 0.96
Model 3. I TCI N, P 153.5 48 3.20 0.13 0.10 (0.08 0.12) 0.88
Model 4. I CI T, N, P 216.7 49 4.42 0.15 0.13 (0.12 0.16) 0.77
Model 5. I CI TN, P 151.4 49 3.09 0.11 0.10 (0.08 0.12) 0.88
Best fitting model Model 2 Model 2 Model 2 Model 2
Note:Forχ2/df ratio, SRMR (Standardized Root Mean Square Residual), and RMSEA (Root Mean Square Error of Approximation), lower numbers
indicate better fit, but for CFI (Comparative Fit Index), higher numbers indicate better fit. I =involvement at baseline; T =transportation;
CI =change in involvement; N =negative emotion; P =positive emotion.
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Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
Table 3 Direct, Indirect, and Total Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Positive and Negative Emotion on Knowledge, Attitudes, and
Behavior (N=167)
Knowledge Attitudes Information Seeking Cancer Talking
Direct Indirect Total Direct Indirect Total Direct Indirect Total Direct Indirect Total
Model 2. I TCI,N,P
Involvement (Time 1) 0.100.10—0.080.08—0.400.40—0.050.05
Transportation 0.20—0.200.15—0.150.620.150.76—0.090.09
Positive emotion 0.21—0.21—0.020.02
Negative emotion 0.21—0.21—0.020.02
Note: Direct and indirect effects may not add to total effects due to rounding error.
p<.05.
422 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
theoretical predictors on knowledge, attitudes, and behavior are shown in Table 3.
Specifically, involvement indirectly relates to knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors as
mediated by transportation. Transportation is related to all three components of the
KAP model: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, and is the strongest of the three
theoretical constructs. Positive and negative emotion related only to behaviors.
Discussion
This study examined the ways in which involvement with a specific character,
involvement with a narrative more generally, and emotion related to shifts in
the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of viewers of a health-related storyline
on a popular weekly television drama, Desperate Housewives. Following Moyer-
Gus´
e (2008), we combined liking, perceived similarity, wishful identification, and
parasocial interaction into a single construct of involvement with a character. Factor
analysis showed that this decision was acceptable as all four measures loaded on a
single factor that explained 52% of their total variance. Through an initial factor
analysis, we were also able to isolate measures that differentiated between involvement
with a character and involvement with a narrative (measured using Green & Brock’s
2000 concept of transportation) suggesting that these are distinct constructs. Finally,
each of the negative emotions of anger, fear, disgust, and sadness yielded a consistent
pattern of results with respect to our dependent measures that was similar to one
another but distinct from the pattern produced by the positive emotion of happiness.
Consequently, although the bifurcation of emotions into positive and negative affect
may indeed be an ‘‘oversimplification of emotional experience’’ as DeSteno et al.
(2004) and others suggest (Dillard & Nabi, 2006), it nevertheless best describes the
current pattern of results.
The first research question examined the extent to which viewers’ involvement
with the character of Lynette, involvement with the narrative or transportation, and
their emotional reaction to the cancer storyline affected their knowledge, attitudes,
and behavior. Interestingly, although we controlled for the number of episodes seen
in the regression models, there was no evidence of a doseresponse effect. This may
be due to the fact that the prominence of the lymphoma storyline was not equal across
all episodes, and different episodes emphasized learning about different aspects of the
disease (e.g., chemotherapy symptoms vs. concerns regarding sexual attractiveness).
Thus, it is not surprising to find that the number of episodes viewed did not relate to
shifts in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.
Of the three theoretical constructs under consideration transportation was the
most predictive of increased knowledge. We suspect that, as Green and Brock
(2000, 2002) and others (Kreuter et al., 2007) have argued, transported viewers are
likely to devote more of their cognitive resources and pay closer attention to the
unfolding drama. It follows that higher levels of transportation should be related
to increased knowledge of information relevant to the storyline. Although both
involvement with Lynette and experiencing negative emotion in response to the
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 423
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
lymphoma storyline were also associated with knowledge when analyzed separately
in the sequential models their effects were no longer significant in the full model
including all theoretical constructs. This suggests that these constructs are related,
but not completely overlapping.
Transportation was likewise the strongest predictor of attitudes about staying
sexually attractive to one’s partner and the importance of having social support.
That only these attitudes were predicted by transportation may be due to the heavy
emphasis on these topics within the lymphoma storyline. These findings support
Slater and Rouner’s (2002) argument that persuasion occurs when individuals are
highly transported or involved in a narrative and that, although issue involvement
may increase narrative involvement, individuals need not have personal involvement
with a particular issue for persuasion to occur. Consequently, although many of the
Desperate Housewives viewers in this study may not have had high levels of issue
involvement— that is, they themselves were not undergoing cancer treatment— their
attitudes were nevertheless swayed as a function of their degree of transportation.
The behavioral outcomes further information seeking and talking to family
and friends about cancerwere similarly related to viewers’ self-reported level
of transportation or involvement with the narrative. This result both supports
Green and Brock (2000, 2002) and Green (2004) and furthers their work by
finding that transportation related to behavioral outcomes in addition to beliefs and
attitudes. As argued by Green (2006), transportation into a narrative may reduce
counterarguing and, as a consequence, increase the likelihood that viewers will
process the information conveyed in a less critical manner. The current findings
further suggest that transported viewers may also be more likely to act upon the
information conveyed by the storyline by subsequently seeking out more information
about lymphoma and cancer more generally and discussing these issues with friends
and family. Information seeking was also predicted by a viewer’s emotional response
to the lymphoma storyline. Positive, but not negative, emotion was related to talking
to others, either about lymphoma or cancer more generally. Viewers experiencing
negative emotions may have concluded that although seeking additional information
regarding cancer might alleviate their negative mood (Petty & Wegener, 1998), talking
to others about cancer may not. In contrast, those experiencing positive emotions
may have tried to maintain their mood by discussing the cancer storyline with friends
and family.
With respect to our second research question, structural equation modeling was
used to examine the relationships between involvement, transportation, emotion, and
EE effects. The best model fit occurred when involvement with the character of Lynette
led to both heightened involvement with the narrative and to heightened levels of
negative and positive emotion. Involvement with the narrative or transportation, in
turn, predicted the greatest shift in the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors associated
with the lymphoma storyline. Experiencing positive and negative emotion was also
related to increased behavior change.
424 Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407– 431 ©2011 International Communication Association
S. T. Murphy et al.Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion
This model of informational, attitudinal, and behavioral change from before and
after the Desperate Housewives storyline aired provides support for the possibility that
transportation may partially mediate change in involvement with a character over
time. As noted previously, various researchers have proposed that involvement with
a character may be an antecedent to transportation (Cohen, 2001; Green et al., 2004;
Slater & Rouner, 2002), as well as an outcome of transportation (Cohen, 2001; Green,
2004; Slater & Rouner, 2002). Our findings suggest that both of these propositions
may be true. In other words, it appears that the relationship may be reciprocal such
that involvement with a particular character increases transportation and vice versa.
How do these findings advance our understanding of the respective roles played
by involvement with a specific character, with the narrative more generally, and a
viewer’s own emotional response to a narrative in producing EE effects? First, our
analyses suggest that although these three constructs may be related, they are not
completely overlapping. Indeed, they seem to produce different effects at different
points in the persuasion process. Although character involvement has long been
hailed as an important direct predictor of EE effects, our model indicates that
character involvement may be as important for its ability to produce heightened
levels of transportation and emotion which, in turn, relate to changes in knowledge,
attitudes, and behavior. Moreover, because this study involves a longitudinal study
of regular viewers’ reactions to a popular ongoing storyline, it may provide a
more generalizable description of the processes individuals undergo when watching
their favorite programs in the comfort of their own homes. This speaks to Slater and
Rouner’s (2002) call for further investigations into the effects of ongoing relationships
that audience members form with beloved characters in their preferred programs as
opposed to their reactions to novel characters and narratives.
Although this work represents a step forward in the understanding of EE
effects, there are a few limitations that must be acknowledged. First, because we
were concerned about potential survey fatigue we kept the survey relatively short
and did not include additional items that could have added further depth and
insight to the study. For example, we included a shortened version of Green and
Brock’s transportation scale and were unable to include other measures of character
involvement such as those recommended by Cohen (2001). In addition, there was a
slight disconnect between some of the outcome measures and the storyline because,
although we were given notice of the general plotline of Lynette’s lymphoma, we did
not have full access to the scripts before the episodes aired. If we had been given access
to the actual scripts ahead of time, we could have crafted items that better tapped the
attitudes and behaviors portrayed. Moreover, this study only surveyed people who
had previously been identified as regular Desperate Housewives viewers. Nonregular
viewers who saw the same storyline may have showed a different pattern of effects due
to lower levels of involvement, transportation, and emotion. Moreover, it should be
noted that the lymphoma storyline was only one of several storylines in any particular
episode. Perhaps the specific emotion associated with that particular storyline was
diluted by the emotions aroused by other competing Desperate Housewives storylines,
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 425
Effects of Involvement, Transportation, and Emotion S. T. Murphy et al.
leading us to underestimate the impact of emotion. Finally, although many of the
relationships tested included measures at two times, transportation and emotion
could only be measured after the storyline aired. Consequently, the structural
equation models cannot establish whether causal relationships among the theoretical
constructs exist.
In conclusion, this study attempted to provide an ecologically valid examination
of how three constructs— involvement with a particular character, involvement with
the narrative more generally, and viewers’ emotional reaction to the narrative —work
together to produce EE effects. This work responds to calls from Moyer-Gus´
e (2008)
who suggests that further research is needed to more fully evaluate the ways in
which cognitive processes (particularly narrative involvement and involvement with
characters) produce EE effects and from Slater and Rouner (2002) who note that
additional research is needed to study EE effects stemming from serial programming
as opposed to single episodes. Our results suggest that the relationship between these
three constructs and the kinds of EE effects they produce is nuanced. Our hope is that
by understanding not just how predictors of EE effects produce outcomes in isolation
but how they relate to one another, media and health practitioners can design more
successful entertainment messages tailored to produce specific behavioral, attitudinal,
and informational objectives.
Acknowledgments
The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Hollywood Health
and Society, Jodi Gusek, the Annenberg National Health Communication Survey
funded by the The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and Frank Magid
and Associates.
Notes
1 In addition, 108 people who had completed the baseline survey also completed a
follow-up survey halfway through the storyline. Results from analysis of their answers
are not presented here.
2 In addition, the regressions were run with controls for exposure to cancer in other
media: (a) newspapers, (b) magazines, (c) daytime television, (d) primetime television
(8 pm to 11 pm), (e) television news, (f) a televised public service announcement (PSA),
(g) radio, (h) Internet, and (i) other. The results were qualitatively the same, so the
simpler models that do not control for other media exposure to cancer are shown here.
3 In addition, analysis was conducted with a series of models using only the constructs
measured at Time 2 with both measurement and structural components. The results of
the analysis matched the results shown here. Contact S.T.M. for these results.
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Appendix
Table A1 Means, Standard Deviations, and Bivariate Correlations (N=167)
MSD(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)
# Episodes (1) 5.71.9
Involvement (2)a7.11.70.16
Transportation
(3)a
5.62.30.05 0.57∗∗
Positive emotion
(4)a
2.12.30.05 0.190.22∗∗
Negative emotion
(5)a
3.92.20.00 0.40∗∗ 0.53∗∗ 0.39∗∗
Knowledge (6)a6.11.40.04 0.26∗∗ 0.47∗∗ 0.13 0.27∗∗
Attitude (7)a7.61.80.01 0.27∗∗ 0.30∗∗ 0.05 0.14 0.25∗∗
Talking (8)b1.50.70.07 0.190.43∗∗ 0.22∗∗ 0.32∗∗ 0.47∗∗ 0.17
Information
seeking (9)a
3.92.60.11 0.36∗∗ 0.68∗∗ 0.35∗∗ 0.53∗∗ 0.52∗∗ 0.34∗∗ 0.65∗∗
aMeasured on 110 scale. bMeasured on 1 4 scale.
p<.05. ∗∗p<.01.
Journal of Communication 61 (2011) 407–431 ©2011 International Communication Association 431
投入,移情还是动感情?娱乐教育中知识、态度和行为改变的决定因素
Sheila T. Murphy, Lauren B. Frank, Meghan B. Moran & Paula Patnoe-Woodley
南加州大学传播与新闻学院
【摘要:】
本文研究对特定角色的投入,对叙事的投入(Green Brock 的移情概念),和观众对叙事
的情感反应这三个概念产生的娱乐教育效应。对 167 位普通观众的前测/后测调查测量了《绝望主
妇》电视剧中一段关于淋巴瘤的剧情的效应。移情或对叙事的投入是对相关知识、态度和行为变
化的最佳预测指标。虽然对特定角色的投入是娱乐教育效应重要的直接影响因素,但是结构方程
模型表明对角色的投入对提高移情和情感的能力更加重要,继而改变观众的知识、态度和行为。
Involviert, transportiert oder emotional? Eine Untersuchung zu Determinanten der
Beeinflussung von Wissen, Einstellungen und Verhalten bei Entertainment-Education
Die Studie untersucht, wie die drei Konstrukte Involvement mit einer spezifischen
Medienfigur, Involvement mit der Geschichte (Green und Brocks Konstrukt
Transportation) und die emotionale Reaktion des Zuschauers auf die Geschichte zu
Entertainment-Education-Wirkungen führen. Mittels Pretest/Posttest-Befragung von 167
Fernsehzuschauern untersuchten wir die Wirkung einer Storyline zum Thema
Lymphknotenerkrankung in der Fernsehserie Desperate Housewives. Transportation oder
Involvement mit der Geschichte war der beste Prädiktor für relevante Veränderungen auf
Wissens-, Einstellungs- und Verhaltensebene. Auch wenn das Involvement mit einer
spezifischen Figur bislang als wichtiger direkter Prädiktor für E-E-Effekte gefeiert wurde,
deuten Strukturgleichungsmodelle darauf hin, dass das Involvement mit einem
spezifischen Charakter eher eine Rolle für die Verstärkung von Transportation und
Emotion spielt, was dann wiederum Veränderungen auf Wissens- , Einstellungs- und
Verhaltensebene zur Folge hat.
Schlüsselbegriffe:Identifikation,Involvement,Transportation,Emotion,EntertainmentEducation,
Medienwirkungen
1
관련되었는가. 전달되었는가, 또는 감정적인가? 오락 교육에 있어 지식, 태도들, 그리고
행위 변화의 결정요인들에 대한 탐구
요약
연구는어떻게세가지구성요소들특정배우들에의관여하기,이야기들에참여하기,그리고
이야기들에대한관찰자들의감정적반응들이오락교육효과를생산하는가를연구한것이다.
DesperateHousewives정기적으로시청하는167 명에대한사전사후서베이가실시되었으며,
이는림프종이야기들에대한노출효과를측정하기위한것이다.이야기들에대한운송또는
관여는관련된지식,태도들,그리고행위의변화에있어최고의예측계였다.비록특정한배역에
대한관여가오락교육효과들의주요한직접적인예측계이나구조적균형모델은배역관여가
운송과감정을강조하는능력을위해무엇보다중요하며이는결과적으로시청자의지식.태도들
그리고행위를변화시키는것으로보인다.
¿Involucrado, Transportado o Emocional? Explorando los Determinantes de Cambio de
Conocimiento, Actitudes y Comportamiento en la Educación de Entretenimiento
Resumen
Este estudio examinó cómo tres constructos – involucramiento con un personaje específico,
involucramiento con la narrativa (el constructo de transportación de Green y Brock), y las
reacciones de los televidentes hacia la narrativa – produjeron los efectos del entretenimiento
educativo. Una encuesta previa y posterior de 167 televidentes regulares midió los efectos de la
exposición a una línea sobre linfoma en el drama televisivo, Amas de Casa Desesperadas
(Desperate Housewives). La transportación o envolvimiento con la narrativa fue el mejor
vaticinador de cambio relevante de conocimiento, actitudes y comportamientos. Aunque el
envolvimiento con un carácter específico ha sido aclamado como un vaticinador importante de
los efectos de entretenimiento educativo, un modelo de ecuación estructural indicó que el
envolvimiento con el carácter puede ser más importante por su habilidad para mejorar la
comunicación y la emoción lo cual a su vez, produce cambios en el conocimiento, actitudes y
comportamiento de los televidentes.
Palabras Claves: identificación, envolvimiento, transportación, emoción, entretenimiento
educativo, efectos de los medios
Intérêt, enthousiasme ou émotion? Une exploration des facteurs déterminants du changement
dans les connaissances, les attitudes et les comportements dans le divertissement instructif
Résumé
Cette étude a examiné comment trois construits, soit l’intérêt pour un personnage spécifique,
l’intérêt pour le narratif (le construit de l’enthousiasme [transportation] de Green & Brock) et la
réaction émotive des spectateurs face au narratif, produisent des effets de divertissement
instructif. Une enquête prétest/post-test auprès de 167 fidèles spectateurs a mesuré les effets de
l’exposition à une intrigue concernant un lymphome dans une série dramatique, Desperate
Housewives. L’enthousiasme ou l’intérêt pour le narratif était la meilleure variable explicative de
changement des connaissances, des attitudes et des comportements pertinents. Bien que l’intérêt
pour un personnage spécifique ait été identifié comme une importante variable explicative
directe des effets de divertissement instructif, un modèle par équation structurelle a indiqué que
l’intérêt pour un personnage pourrait être plus important parce qu’il augmente l’enthousiasme et
l’émotion, éléments qui, à leur tour, produisent des changements dans les connaissances, les
attitudes et les comportements des téléspectateurs.
Mots-clés : identification, intérêt, enthousiasme, émotion, divertissement instructif, effets
médiatiques
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