Article

Defining Identification: A Theoretical Look at the Identification of Audiences With Media Characters

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Abstract

In this article I argue that although the notion of identification with media characters is widely discussed in media research, it has not been carefully conceptualized or rig- orously tested in empirical audience studies. This study presents a theoretical discus- sion of identification, including a definition of identification and a discussion of the consequences of identification with media characters for the development of identity and socialization processes. It is suggested that a useful distinction can be made be- tween identification and other types of reactions that media audiences have to media characters. A critical look at media research involving identification exposes the in- herent conceptual problems in this research and leads to hypotheses regarding the antecedents and consequences of identification with media characters. The impor - tance of a theory of identification to media research and communication research, more broadly, is presented. When reading a novel or watching a film or a television program, audience members often become absorbed in the plot and identify with the characters portrayed. Unlike the more distanced mode of reception—that of spectatorship—identification is a mechanism through which audience members experience reception and interpreta- tion of the text from the inside, as if the events were happening to them. Identification is tied to the social effects of media in general (e.g., Basil, 1996; Maccoby & Wilson, 1957); to the learning of violence from violent films and television, specifically (Huesmann, Lagerspetz, & Eron, 1984); and is a central mechanism for explaining such effects. As Morley (1992) said: "One can hardly imagine any television text having any effect whatever without that identification" (p. 209). The most promi-

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... Because the many processes of narrative persuasion are unique to the particular qualities of specific narratives and/or characteristics of the receiving audience, Moyer-Gusé and Nabi (2010) argued that researchers should limit their investigations to a subset of entertainment forms and modes of resistance. Following that recommendation, this study limited its investigations to the influence of narrative speeches on entertainment defined as parasocial interaction (PSI) (Horton & Wohl, 1956;Rubin, Perse, & Powell, 1985), identification (Cohen, 2001), and narrative transportation (Green & Brock, 2000). In addition, this study examined how those forms of entertainment elicit both enjoyment (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 1999) and persuasion through a process of reducing counterarguing against persuasive messages conveyed in narrative speeches (Moyer-Gusé, 2008). ...
... Cohen (2001) articulated a definition of identification, drawing from and narrowing previous definitions, including Freud's introduction of identification as a psychological phenomenon and Wilson's arguments that identification is a form of perspective taking. Consistent with these assumptions, Cohen (2001) defined identification as "a mechanism through which audience members experience reception and interpretation of the text from the inside, as if events were happening to them" (p. 245). ...
... Identification has been demonstrated with a variety of narrative characters, including those in film (Tal-Or & Cohen, 2010), reality television (Tsay-Vogel & Oliver, 2010), and situation comedies (Moyer-Gusé, Chung, & Jain, 2011). Cohen (2001) argued and researchers have demonstrated that identification is particularly well suited for understanding the enjoyment of narrative characters (Tal-Or & Cohen, 2010;Tsay-Vogel & Oliver, 2014). Therefore, we posited the following hypotheses. ...
... Because the many processes of narrative persuasion are unique to the particular qualities of specific narratives and/or characteristics of the receiving audience, Moyer-Gusé and Nabi (2010) argued that researchers should limit their investigations to a subset of entertainment forms and modes of resistance. Following that recommendation, this study limited its investigations to the influence of narrative speeches on entertainment defined as parasocial interaction (PSI) (Horton & Wohl, 1956;Rubin, Perse, & Powell, 1985), identification (Cohen, 2001), and narrative transportation (Green & Brock, 2000). In addition, this study examined how those forms of entertainment elicit both enjoyment (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 1999) and persuasion through a process of reducing counterarguing against persuasive messages conveyed in narrative speeches (Moyer-Gusé, 2008). ...
... H2a: Greater levels of PSI with the speaker of a narrative speech predicts more enjoyment of the speech. Cohen (2001) articulated a definition of identification, drawing from and narrowing previous definitions, including Freud's introduction of identification as a psychological phenomenon and Wilson's arguments that identification is a form of perspective taking. Consistent with these assumptions, Cohen (2001) defined identification as "a mechanism through which audience members experience reception and interpretation of the text from the inside, as if events were happening to them" (p. ...
... Cohen (2001) articulated a definition of identification, drawing from and narrowing previous definitions, including Freud's introduction of identification as a psychological phenomenon and Wilson's arguments that identification is a form of perspective taking. Consistent with these assumptions, Cohen (2001) defined identification as "a mechanism through which audience members experience reception and interpretation of the text from the inside, as if events were happening to them" (p. 245). ...
... This prior knowledge-based on our real-life experiences-makes it easier to generate inferences facilitating comprehension (Shapiro, 2004). Above this, narratives facilitate comprehension by inviting readers to "step into the shoes" of a character (similar to identification; Cohen, 2001). Readers make a deictic shift (Segal, 1995a,b) adopting the cognitive stance of the character and interpreting the narrative from within. ...
... When interactors can make decisions for characters that have a perceptible effect on the narrative, interactors may be more inclined to identify with the character (Segal, 1995a,b) and to actively adopt the goals of this character (Green and Jenkins, 2014), possibly enabling a higher mental transportation into the story world (Cohen et al., 2015, p. 240;Hand and Varan, 2008). As a result, interactors may process information that is relevant to the narrative more deeply (Busselle and Bilandzic, 2008) and may internalize the perspectives of characters even more than in a traditional narrative (Cohen, 2001(Cohen, , 2006Hand and Varan, 2009), affecting cognitive and transformative learning, respectively. As for intrinsic motivation, the decisions that interactors can make for characters could make them feel competent, autonomous and related to the characters in the narrative, boosting intrinsic motivation (Ryan and Deci, 2009) to process learning materials (i.e., cognitive learning; Patall et al., 2008) and to understand different perspectives (i.e., transformative learning; Mezirow, 2003). ...
... Identification and transportation are well-known constructs when talking about narrative engagement (Bilandzic and Busselle, 2017). Cohen (2001) defines identification as "an imaginative process through which an audience member assumes the identity, goals, and perspective of a character" (p. 261). ...
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Using narratives is an important communication strategy in mental health campaigns to empower readers to adequately help people suffering from depression. These narratives could be enhanced by giving readers agency to make choices on behalf of the main character that noticeably affect the narrative. Yet, few studies have explored the effects of these choices. This study investigated the effects of agency in an interactive digital narrative (IDN) about depression on cognitive and transformative learning. In two experimental, between-subjects design studies, the learning outcomes of a traditional (without agency) and interactive version (with agency) of a narrative about depression were compared. The mediating roles of identification, transportation and intrinsic motivation were also considered. In experiment 1 (N = 216), no effects of agency on cognitive learning, intrinsic motivation, identification or transportation were found. After better embedding learning content and increasing the choices' meaningfulness in the narrative of experiment 2 (N = 155), agency positively affected transformative learning but not cognitive learning. The effect on transformative learning was mediated by identification with the character. These results suggest that agency in educational narratives about depression increases identification with caretakers and reflection on how to approach people with depression sensibly. Implications of these results are discussed.
... Despite the prevalence of scenarios in which readers and characters experience distinct discrete emotions, most media psychology research focuses on situations in which readers' and characters' emotions align (such that readers simulate the characters' emotional experience; Busselle & Bilandzic, 2009;Cohen, 2001;Green & Brock, 2000;Mar & Oatley, 2008). The example from Jaws demonstrates how differences in information that is available to readers and characters can affect their emotional responses distinctly. ...
... This work also contributes to research on narrative and character involvement, which has long argued that emotional engagement is a fundamental part of overall engagement in a story (Busselle & Bilandzic, 2009;Cohen, 2001;Green & Brock, 2000;Mar & Oatley, 2008;Moyer-Gusé, 2008). However, the actual nature of emotional engagement (i.e., the discrete emotions experienced by the audience, and their determinants) remains underexplored. ...
... According to theories of character involvement, readers adopt a character's goals and comprehend the plot with reference to their goals. Because of this shared perspective, readers often experience emotions alongside the character, mirroring their discrete emotional experience (Cohen, 2001;Eyal & Rubin, 2003;Slater & Rouner, 2002). Thus, research on character identification typically does specify (at least implicitly) the specific nature of the reader's emotion, often such that the reader's emotion aligns with that of the character (e.g., characters and readers have a simultaneous experience of fear). ...
Article
Emotional responses are a central feature of readers’ narrative experiences. Situations in which readers adopt characters’ goals and experience similar emotional reactions to story events are often the focus of research on readers’ experiences of stories. However, readers may understand (or appraise) story events in a way that differs from the main character, and may consequently feel different emotions. In the current work, we leverage an appraisal theory perspective to clarify conditions under which readers experience emotions that mirror characters’ emotional responses to story events, as well as conditions under which readers experience distinct emotions. Study 1 examined readers’ experience of anger toward different story characters. Study 2 examined readers’ experience of sadness or fear for one story character. Results suggest that readers appraise the event from both a character’s perspective as well as their individual view, which generally translates into the experience of emotions that correspond with both the character’s appraisals and their own.
... Empathy is also a relevant construct in research on media psychology (Nathanson, 2003;Zillmann, 1991), because it allows understanding of emotional reactions to narrative messages (Davis et al., 1987) and how affective dispositions towards their characters develop (Raney, 2003). Given that empathy is a dimension of the identification construct (Cohen, 2001(Cohen, , 2009Igartua & Barrios, 2012), and that empathic people engage more intensely with narratives (Davis et al., 1987;Green & Sestir, 2017), we consider that, if instructions to stimulate empathy are given immediately before exposure to a narrative message, both processes (identification and narrative transportation) will increase, especially when the protagonist is presented as similar to the audience. ...
... Identification is defined as a multidimensional construct that is linked to emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and the feeling of merging with the character and adopting their goals (Igartua & Barrios, 2012). This constitutes a psychological phenomenon by which members of the audience mentally adopt the position of the protagonist of the narrative, a process that allows the natural tendency to limit one's vision of things to a single perspective to be overcome (Cohen, 2001;Cohen & Tal-Or, 2017). ...
Article
This work addresses the study of factors that increase the persuasive efficacy of testimonial messages aimed at improving intergroup attitudes. The results of two online experiments (N = 840) on the effect of empathy with, and similarity to, the protagonist in personal stories designed to improve attitudes towards immigrants are presented. In both studies, participants were given instructions to induce a certain exposure condition (empathy vs. an objective or distanced perspective) immediately before reading a narrative whose protagonist was an immigrant with high or low similarity to the audience. The results of mediation analysis show that both empathy and similarity increased identification and narrative transportation, which in turn reduced counterarguing, thus resulting in a more positive attitude towards the outgroup and lower threat perception. The results are discussed in the context of research on narrative persuasion and the design of campaigns to reduce racism and xenophobia.
... While narratives are known to be more persuasive than non-narratives, the mechanisms behind this are less well-understood [3]. Previous research has suggested that identification-the adoption of the perspective of the character-aids in narrative persuasion [4] among other mechanisms. ...
... Occasionally, readers also ask the original poster questions to clarify certain points, where the original poster can respond. According to the forum rules, Commenters are asked to start their comment with one of the following (1) You're The Asshole (YTA), (2) Not The Asshole (NTA), (3) Everybody Sucks Here (ESH), (4) No Assholes Here (NAH), and (5) Not Enough Info (INFO). In the end, after 18 hours, each post is officially labeled by the tag corresponding to its top comments. ...
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In the r/AmITheAsshole subreddit, people anonymously share first person narratives that contain some moral dilemma or conflict and ask the community to judge who is at fault (i.e., who is "the asshole"). In general, first person narratives are a unique storytelling domain where the author is the narrator (the person telling the story) but can also be a character (the person living the story) and, thus, the author has two distinct voices presented in the story. In this study, we identify linguistic and narrative features associated with the author as the character or as a narrator. We use these features to answer the following questions: (1) what makes an asshole character and (2) what makes an asshole narrator? We extract both Author-as-Character features (e.g., demographics, narrative event chain, and emotional arc) and Author-as-Narrator features (i.e., the style and emotion of the story as a whole) in order to identify which aspects of the narrative are correlated with the final moral judgment. Our work shows that "assholes" as Characters frame themselves as lacking agency with a more positive personal arc, while "assholes" as Narrators will tell emotional and opinionated stories.
... Un instrumento para la educación a través de la narrativa audiovisual es la normalización de roles sociales mediante la creación de personajes. Las investigaciones previas sobre el entretenimiento mediático han puesto de manifiesto que los personajes de ficción pueden promover la implicación de las audiencias con los mensajes percibidos, tales como los efectos, la similitud con el personaje, la interacción para-social o la propia identificación (Cohen, 2001;Soto-Sanfiel, Aymerich-Franch y Romero, 2014). De hecho, Bartsch et al. (2006) definieron el entretenimiento como un proceso en el que los espectadores pueden identificarse con los protagonistas de la ficción audiovisual a través de simulaciones con sus comportamientos y situaciones, generando empatía e implicación con los personajes y creando vinculación narrativa y experiencial (Krakowiak y Oliver, 2012). ...
... De hecho, Bartsch et al. (2006) definieron el entretenimiento como un proceso en el que los espectadores pueden identificarse con los protagonistas de la ficción audiovisual a través de simulaciones con sus comportamientos y situaciones, generando empatía e implicación con los personajes y creando vinculación narrativa y experiencial (Krakowiak y Oliver, 2012). La identificación con los personajes supone reacciones de empatía cognitiva y emocional, llegando a fusionarse con el personaje (Cohen, 2001), lo que ayuda a revelar el impacto que tiene la ficción audiovisual en los comportamientos positivos pro-sociales (Murphy et al., 2013). De este modo, y dentro de la función y responsabilidad social de las empresas audiovisuales (Sánchez-Gey, Jiménez-Marín y Román-San-Miguel, 2022), los personajes pueden representar arquetipos y estereotipos, por lo que ambos conceptos deben aclararse. ...
Article
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La ficción audiovisual ejerce un rol socializador que influye en la construcción de las identidades personales. La proyección de la ficción en la consolidación de nuevas representaciones es determinante en las sociedades actuales, adquiriendo relevancia gracias a su capacidad de conformar personalidades a través de su imagen, influenciar en la conducta y determinar comportamientos. Este artículo pretende profundizar en la imagen de los estereotipos, arquetipos y roles sociales presentados en la ficción española coral a través de dos casos de estudio específicos: la urbana Cites y la rural El Pueblo. El objetivo fundamental es el de exponer las tendencias de tramas y personajes en dicha representación audiovisual. Para ello, se ha empleado una metodología mixta, con base de corte socio-semiótico y triangulación metodológica, que ha permitido estudiar enfoques desde la óptica de la educomunicación. Los resultados arrojan conclusiones relevantes alrededor de los diferentes modelos, estereotipos y arquetipos mostrados con referencia a la cuestión del género y opciones familiares, de pareja o relaciones de convivencia, incorporando patrones relativos a la estructuración familiar con modelos nuevos, insertándolos de un modo normalizado, dándose modelos y relaciones familiares diversos con menor cuestionamiento y mayor normalidad, auspiciando cambios en la sociedad, dado que los espectadores empatizan y desarrollan vínculos con los personajes adquiriendo su perspectiva.L
... In addition to testing the combined impact of two dimensions of narrative perspectives on the effectiveness of antiprescription opioid campaigns, this study also explores three possible mechanisms underlying such impact, namely identification, perceived severity, and anticipated guilt. Among various mechanisms of narrative involvement, identification (defined as a process whereby readers of a narrative lose selfawareness, imagine themselves as a particular character, and take on the feelings, perspectives, and goals of the character; Cohen, 2001) is most relevant to the focus of this study because changing narrative perspectives is an effective way of influencing identification with a character (de Graaf et al., 2012). Perceived severity of the dangers of prescription opioids and anticipated guilt are also tested as potential mediators because they are found to be predictors of attitudes toward drugs and intentions to use drugs (Banerjee & Greene, 2012;Cao, 2022;Wu et al., 2014). ...
... Identification was measured by 10 statements (rated on a seven-point agreement scale) such as, "I was able to understand the events that happened to [character's name] in a manner similar to which [character's name] understood them" (M = 4.06; SD = 1.31; α = .91; Cohen, 2001). ...
Article
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An online experiment with two between-subjects conditions was conducted among a convenience sample of American college students to test the impact of first-person internally focalized versus third-person externally focalized risk narratives on the effectiveness of anti-prescription opioid campaigns as well as factors that explain such impact. It found that first-internal vs. third-external narratives increased identification with the character, perceived severity of the dangers of prescription opioids, anticipated guilt, as well as negative attitudes toward prescription opioids. The study also found indirect positive impacts of first-internal vs. third-external narratives on negative attitudes toward prescription opioids and intentions to avoid (mis)using prescription opioids via perceived severity and anticipated guilt but not identification. The findings contribute to our understanding of the impacts of narrative perspectives in the context of health communication and provide guidance in the design of effective anti-prescription opioid campaigns.
... The persuasive effects of narratives are dependent upon engagement with the story. There are multiple dimensions of narrative engagement including transportation (Green & Brock, 2000), identification (Cohen, 2001), and emotional engagement and attentional focus (Busselle & Bilandzic, 2009). Studies of narrative engagement and persuasion typically assess beliefs of individuals before and after exposure to a narrative and compare shifts in beliefs to measures of engagement (Beattie et al., 2011;Cooper & Nisbet, 2016). ...
... Emotion is an important element of how we engage with narratives, both within and beyond the context of transportation (Green et al., 2012;Mazzocco et al., 2010). Emotional engagement is story-specific and may include vicariously experiencing the emotions of a character (Cohen, 2001), feeling emotions for a character (Moyer-Gusé, 2008), or experiencing discrete emotions-alone or in sequence-due to events depicted in the story (e.g., Green et al., 2012;Nabi, 2002Nabi, , 2015. Emotional engagement has been shown to influence persuasive outcomes of narratives (Busselle & Bilandzic, 2009;de Graaf et al., 2009), including inspiring pro-environmental beliefs and behavior following exposure to environmental messages (Nabi et al., 2018;Ojala, 2012). ...
Article
We conducted an experiment to determine whether a conservation film increased support for conservation and whether transportation and emotion were correlated with shifts in conservation support. Viewers of short and feature-length versions of the conservation film exhibited greater alignment with story-centric beliefs and conservation behavior interest than individuals who viewed a control film. Transportation was correlated with conservation belief alignment and behavior interest; emotion was correlated with behavior interest. This study indicates that even short conservation films can be engaging and persuasive and are potentially powerful tools for generating conservation support among audiences not previously aligned with this topic.
... Because few studies involving character trust and identification exist, the relationship between character trust and identification remains unclear. It may seem as though identification and perceptions of untrustworthiness are incompatible given that identification requires a temporary loss of self and focus on the character and their thoughts, feelings, and motivations (Cohen, 2001). However, it is generally understood that the experience of identification is dynamic throughout message exposure such that moments of identification may be punctuated by moments of reflection, less engagement, or even selfreferencing (Moyer-Gusé, 2015). ...
... A measure developed by Cohen (2001) was used to assess respondents' identification with the protagonist, (e.g., "While viewing the show I could feel the emotions Hannah portrayed"). Ten items were presented to participants using a Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree) and were averaged (M = 4.30, SD = 1.11, ...
Article
Guided by the entertainment overcoming resistance model (EORM), participants (N = 334) were exposed to narrative correction strategies designed to reduce reliance on a character that portrayed misinformation about HPV within a narrative. In a 2 × 2 experiment, participants were randomly assigned to either read a warning about an untrustworthy character or a description of the show and to view a post-show video where hosts discussed the motives and actions of that character or a control clip. Both narrative correction strategies reduced individuals' trust of the protagonist and, in turn, increased the number of correct answers on an HPV knowledge test. Identification moderated the indirect relationship between exposure to the post-show discussion and HPV knowledge. For those who reported greater identification with the protagonist, the post-show discussion reduced character trust whereas those who reported low identification were not impacted by this narrative correction strategy. The effect of the pre-show warning did not depend on level of identification. The results build on previous studies concerning narrative correction strategies as well as extend the EORM to narrative correction outcomes.
... A second mechanism of narrative engagement is identification (Cohen, 2001;Sestir and Green, 2010), in which narratives are engaging to the extent that audiences identify with story characters. The more individuals identify with characters, the more their attitudes and behavioral intentions align with those advocated by the characters in the story. ...
... Transportation was measured with the 5-item transportation scale short form (TS-SF; Appel et al., 2015), including items such as "I could picture myself in the scene of the events described in the narrative" rated on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 7 (very much). To measure identification, we utilized the 3-item measure of character identification used in Sestir and Green (2010), adapted from Cohen (2001), with items such as "When reading the story, I wanted the character to succeed in achieving her goals" rated on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 7 (very much). Lastly, to measure emotional flow, we used a 4-item emotional flow scale, including items such as "I experienced a lot of different emotions" rated on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). ...
Article
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Themes of death and grief emerge in media entertainment in ways that are both poignant and humorous. In this experimental study, we extend research on eudaimonic narratives about death to consider those that are hedonic. Participants read a story about a woman giving a eulogy for her friend that was manipulated to be either poignant-focused or humor-focused, and answered questions about their responses to the story, feelings of connectedness with others, and death acceptance. The narrative conditions elicited similar levels of narrative engagement and appreciation, but the humor-focused narrative elicited more enjoyment than the poignant-focused narrative. Connectedness did not differ between conditions. However, the humor-focused narrative elicited more death acceptance when controlling for participants' personal loss acceptance and grief severity, and individual differences in the dark tetrad personality traits, trait depression, and religious upbringing. We tested these effects in an integrated path model and found that the model fit the data well and the narrative pathways explained variance in both death acceptance and connectedness. Our findings have implications for how death and grief are depicted in media entertainment: namely, that death is an inherently poignant topic and the addition of humorous elements in bereavement narratives may be especially effective in increasing death acceptance.
... These items were modified from a range of studies covering the topic of identification (Cohen, 2001;Godlewski & Perse, 2010;Stratton, 1967). Item responses were measured using a 4-point Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = agree, and 4 = strongly agree. ...
Article
Reality docuseries have dominated primetime airwaves for the greater part of three decades. However, little is known about how viewers who are enamored with the genre’s most aggressive characters are influenced. Using Glaser’s (1956) theory of differential identification, this study employs survey data from 210 college students at a historically Black college and university to explore whether identification with characters from aggressive reality docuseries (ARDs) and the frequency of viewing ARD are positively associated with cyberbullying. Results of multivariate analyses revealed that men were more likely than women to publicly shame others and air other’s dirty laundry online. Additionally, the frequency of viewing ARDs was positively associated with all cyberbullying outcomes, while identification with ARD characters was positively associated with trolling others online. This study contributes to an emerging body of literature about the impact of viewing reality television on antisocial behavior.
... These results suggested that avatar-prioritization was sensitive to the perception of self-avatar identity relevance (Golubickis et al., 2020;Sui et al., 2012). While avatar identification is, by nature, a multidimensional variable (Li et al., 2013;Van Looy et al., 2012), the merging of a player's identity and self-concept with the avatar may be a fundamental and necessary process of avatar identification (Cohen, 2001;Klimmt et al., 2009Klimmt et al., , 2010, which can be reflected by the self-avatar identity relevance in our study. Hypothesis 3 was also supported. ...
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Video game players may identify with the avatar they control and incorporate it into their own self-concepts, a phenomenon referred to as avatar identification. While most previous studies on avatar identification used self-reported scales, we examined whether the cognitive processing of avatar-related stimuli was prioritized at the relatively lower level via an adapted avatar shape–label matching task. League of Legends players responded faster, more accurately, and more efficiently to avatar-related stimuli than to familiar other-related ones. This avatar-prioritization effect was positively correlated with the “importance to identity” subdimension of avatar identification, as well as some indicators of gaming behaviors (Experiment 1). In addition, the processing priority of avatar-related stimuli was higher as a function of increasing self–avatar identity relevance (Experiment 2). These findings provide empirical evidence that avatar identification also manifests without higher-level cognitive processing and have implications for understanding people’s behavior in the metaverse.
... Transportation is defined as absorption into a story as a result of the integrative melding of attention, imagery, and emotions [46]. Identification refers to a phenomenon when a narrative is processed from the viewpoint of a character while reading, and the reader feels as if he or she were the character [47]. Transportation and identification are similar concepts, but they differ in that transportation is a reaction to a story, whereas identification is a reaction to the characters [48]. ...
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To build a sustainable society, the provision of information is very important. This study examines the different methods by which providing a narrative and logical information on climate change affects pro-environmental behavior. Narrative information is defined as expressions describing the process of someone experiencing an event, and logical information refers to straightforward representations composed of only central facts. According to the dual-process theory, these two formats of information seem to be processed in different ways: the former is processed automatically and intuitively, and the latter is processed deliberatively and logically. This study aims to reveal the potential of narrative information to encourage behavioral intentions and policy acceptance in energy and environmental fields. In an experiment conducted via the internet, participants either read the narrative or logical information on climate change and completed the questionnaires before and after reading. The results indicate that narrative evokes stronger emotions, such as anxiety and fear, and leads to higher behavioral intentions and policy acceptance of climate change than logical information. They further infer that this tendency is more pronounced when the participants tend to be absorbed into narratives or have little interest in climate change. Our results suggest that the narrative approach can be effective for providing information on energy and environmental issues.
... Character involvement is also integral to the persuasive impact of the narrative and is often related to identification, or whether the audience member identifies with the character in some way (Nabi & Green, 2015). The concept of identification is based on a psychological attachment between the audience member and the character in which the audience member imagines being the character and requires that the audience forget themselves and become "the other" as they are transported into the story (Cohen, 2001). ...
Conference Paper
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The purpose of this study is to assess how entertainment-education (E-E) programming and the use of narrative persuasion can potentially be used to overcome message resistance to highly polarized topics. This study focuses on narrative persuasion techniques and concepts from the Entertainment for Overcoming Resistance Model (EORM; Moyer-Gusé, 2008) and Extended-elaboration Likelihood Model (E-ELM), specifically transportation, identification, counterargument, and attitude change. In this pilot study, a quasi-experiment was conducted in which participants (n = 27) were exposed to a short film from UNICEF's Unfairy Tales series, which is a collection of three short films intended to garner support for humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees, specifically Syrian children. Results from a paired samples t-test showed a significant change (p < .001) in attitudes toward perceived potential economic burdens posed by taking in refugees in the United States and toward individuals in the United States sponsoring more refugees and helping with assistance. Regression analysis showed that identification was a predictor of reduced counterarguing (p < .001), a form of message resistance. While not significant, transportation was surprisingly associated positively with counterarguing, indicating that this should be explored further in a full-scale study. Identifying as Republican was also significantly associated with counterarguing, suggesting that value systems should be considered when examining how to overcome message resistance in E-E content, especially when examining persuasive messages on highly polarized, geopolitical issues.
... According to Cohen (2001), identification means that the recipient imagines 'being the character and replaces his or her personal identity and role as audience member with the identity and role of the character' (Cohen, 2001, p. 251). Identification process has four dimensions: (a) empathic (recipients share similar feelings with character), (b) cognitive (recipients share the same point of view with character), (c) motivational (recipients adopt the goals of the character), (d) absorption (recipients lose self-awareness while they psychologically interact with characters). ...
... One of the more established media effects theories is that of parasocial interaction (PSI), the perception of an individual to have a friendship relationship with a character in media, usually a celebrity (Horton & Wohl, 1956;Giles, 2002). From the 1970s onwards, several scales have been proposed to measure people's parasocial interactions and relationships with characters in media (Levy, 1979;Rubin, Perse & Powell, 1985;Auter & Palmgreen, 2000;Cohen, 2001;Schramm & Hartmann, 2008). Researchers have found different factors that have an impact on the intensity of parasocial interactions, such as attractiveness, similarity, selective exposure, gender, age or education (Klimmt, Hartmann & Schramm, 2006). ...
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming all fields of knowledge and production. From surgery, autonomous driving, to image and video creation, AI seems to make possible hitherto unimaginable processes of automation and efficient creation. Media and communication are not an exception, and we are currently witnessing the dawn of powerful AI tools capable of creating artistic images from simple keywords, or to capture emotions from facial expression. These examples may be only the beginning of what can be in the future the engines for automatic AI real time creation of media content linked to the emotional and behavioural responses of individuals. Although it may seem we are still far from there, it is already the moment to adapt our theories about media to the hypothetical scenario in which content production can be done without human intervention, and governed by the controlled any reactions of the individual to the exposure to media content. Following that, I propose the definition of the Integrated Model of Artificial Intelligence-Mediated Communication Effects (IMAGINE), and its consequences on the way we understand media evolution (Scolari, 2012) and we think about media effects (Potter, 2010). The conceptual framework proposed is aimed to help scholars theorizing and doing research in a scenario of continuous real-time connection between AI measurement of people's responses to media, and the AI creation of content, with the objective of optimizing and maximizing the processes of influence. Parasocial interaction and real-time beautification are used as examples to model the functioning of the IMAGINE process.
... Fiske (1992) suggested that fans tend to be active rather than passive when receiving, producing, and consuming media. Moreover, fandom provides a sense of individual identification with a character while consuming certain content (Cohen, 2001). ...
Article
Purpose – This study attempts to reveal the motivation of individuals for binge-watching. The motivational factors considered are enjoyment, efficiency, recommendations of others, perceived control, and fandom. The underlying framework used to explore the association of various motivational factors with binge-watching behavior is the Uses and Gratifications theory. The study also aims to contribute additional insight to the current literature on bingewatching by showing the moderating effects that the traits of sensation-seeking and need for cognition have on binge-watching behavior. Design/Methodology/Approach – Data was collected through a survey of 298 respondents who used online digital video platforms during phase I of the lockdown in India in April 2020. Analysis and testing were performed using Warp PLS 20 in order to understand binge-watching behavior during the pandemic. Findings and Implications – The study found enjoyment and efficiency to be the most influential predictors of binge-watching motivation, with fandom as the second most influential. Moreover, a major contribution of this study stems from the finding that sensationseeking and binge-watching behavior do not moderate the relationship between binge-watching motivation and binge-watching behavior. Limitations – The sample consisted of individuals from only one country. Originality – This study focuses on the motivators of binge-watching behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic from the aspect of the Uses and Gratifications theory.
... Fans or viewers accept the idol's goals and the state of their identity. A satisfactory definition of identity should explain the relationship between identification and other ways viewers relate to the character, such as attitudes and emotions (Cohen, 2001). Moreover, with good manners, hobbies and life values, there is identity; the inner interaction of the fan base can find a foothold for the soul through good manners, shared hobbies and life values as the fans follow in their self-idol. ...
... Because embodiment enables the user to adopt the perspective of the avatar, this affordance may promote feelings of identification (see Cohen & Klimmt, this volume;Cohen 2001). Klimmt, Hefner, and Vorderer (2009) propose a conceptualization of identification in video games. ...
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Alongside the development of VR technology, empirical research and theorizing on VR entertainment is also expanding. Currently missing is an integrative conceptual framework that identifies properties of VR that distinguish it from other currently available entertainment media. In the present chapter we attempt a step in this direction. After reviewing recent trends in VR entertainment, we identify key affordances and characteristics of the VR experience. Subsequently, we discuss how these elements may shape the entertainment experience and how existing entertainment theories may be elaborated or challenged by VR. We offer five guiding propositions for future research. We conclude with a brief discussion of the complexities of creating and studying VR entertainment.
... This concept of celebrity identification is multifaceted in nature and has two aspects (Soukup 2006). On the one hand, event attendees assume the artist's identity, goals, and perspective, creating a psychological connection (Cohen 2001;Eyal and Rubin 2003). In addition to such a vicarious experience, the identification process is also associated with other ritualized fans to foster a sense of belonging in a group (Benson and Brown 2002;Harwood 1999). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic brought the live concert industry to a near halt and led many performing artists to rethink the way they connect with their audiences. One effort to continue performing despite pandemic-related restrictions was to shift live performances to virtual streaming and bring the live concert experience directly to fans’ living rooms. However, little is known about the determinants of virtual live concert (VLC) satisfaction. This study aims to identify which factors constitute audience satisfaction with VLCs and to examine the importance of each element. A total of 533 participants who attended BTS’s Map of the Soul ON:E concert in 2020 were recruited to investigate their VLC satisfaction. The results of confirmatory factor analysis show that three dimensions—artist, audio quality, and virtual stage appearance—constructed the concept of VLC satisfaction. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) also revealed that video device type and previous live concert experiences were significant factors for VLC satisfaction, but not audio device type. In addition, celebrity identity and celebrity attitude were significantly and positively related to audiences’ satisfaction with VLC. The outcome of this study demonstrates the opportunities of VLC as an alternative and expanded media channel for audience engagement.
... Narrative engagement is best explained as story involvement, while identification is more closely related to the involvement with a specific character and is also influenced by the existing empathy of the individual (Cohen, 2001;Walter et al., 2018). Narrative engagement has been recognized as the main mediator between exposure and acceptance of storyconsistent beliefs (Busselle and Bilandzic, 2008) suggesting that highly engaging narratives need to lead the audience into considering external factors of the portrayed events to surpass the causal attribution (Walter et al., 2018). ...
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In a society where advances and innovations occur on a daily basis, outreach and meaningful engagement with the general public become more challenging. The amount of information produced and repackaged surpasses existing systems in place to ensure truthful and factual engagement with the public, especially with complex matters regarding health science. This perspective paper discusses the value of contextualization and optimization for creating transparent and engaging content. We reflect on the innovative Transformative Storytelling Technique as a new category-creating hybrid content to guide audiences' experience, starting with the case of informal caregivers helping individuals living with neurological conditions. Moreover, we share our perspective on the important considerations for current and future development of highly targeted content using this technique. We include reflections around the risks and ethical principles needed in the utilization and dissemination of “guided” content for the general public.
... Συμβαίνει όταν οι χρήστες συγχέουν το εικονικό περιβάλλον με την πραγματική ζωή (Bjork & Holopainen, 2004). Ακόμη, σύμφωνα με τον Cohen (2001), η συναισθηματική εμβύθιση έχει ως αποτέλεσμα τη μείωση της αυτογνωσίας των χρηστών που, παράλληλα, αντικαθίσταται από την αυξημένη συναισθηματική και γνωστική εμπλοκή με τους χαρακτήρες του εικονικού περιβάλλοντος. ▪ Στρατηγική εμβύθιση (strategic immersion). ...
... Συμβαίνει όταν οι χρήστες συγχέουν το εικονικό περιβάλλον με την πραγματική ζωή (Bjork & Holopainen, 2004). Ακόμη, σύμφωνα με τον Cohen (2001), η συναισθηματική εμβύθιση έχει ως αποτέλεσμα τη μείωση της αυτογνωσίας των χρηστών που, παράλληλα, αντικαθίσταται από την αυξημένη συναισθηματική και γνωστική εμπλοκή με τους χαρακτήρες του εικονικού περιβάλλοντος. ▪ Στρατηγική εμβύθιση (strategic immersion). ...
... The identification with human-like figures is a key concept in understanding and explaining the processes and effects that the stimuli provoke in the subjects while the experiments are being conducted. Through the figures, many emotions felt during direct encounters in personal experiences are recalled, activating what is known as autobiographical memory (Cohen, 2001;Sainz-de-Baranda et al., 2021b). ...
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Audiovisual communication is greatly contributing to the emerging research field of affective computing. The use of audiovisual stimuli within immersive virtual reality environments is providing very intense emotional reactions, which provoke spontaneous physical and physiological changes that can be assimilated into real responses. In order to ensure high-quality recognition, the artificial intelligence (AI) system must be trained with adequate data sets, including not only those gathered by smart sensors but also the tags related to the elicited emotion. Currently, there are very few techniques available for the labeling of emotions. Among them, the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) devised by Lang is one of the most popular. This study shows experimentally that the graphic proposal for the original SAM labelling system, as devised by Lang, is not neutral to gender and contains gender biases in its design and representation. Therefore, a new graphic design has been proposed and tested according to the guidelines of expert judges. The results of the experiment show an overall improvement in the labeling of emotions in the pleasure–arousal–dominance (PAD) affective space, particularly, for women. This research proves the relevance of applying the gender perspective in the validation of tools used throughout the years.
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This study explores the ways in which members of Congress cultivate their representational style via Twitter that helps to affect their political celebrity. Scholars have explored how elected officials craft representational styles to connect with their constituents. Social media has become a key medium through which representatives communicate with voters and enables them to court a constituency beyond their district’s geographic boundaries. This study seeks to extend the literature by examining how members of Congress use social media to craft an image and enhance their celebrity brand, and then assess this image in relation to representational style. Representatives like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Rand Paul, for example, use social media to critique the opposing party and highlight policies, but do so in a manner that centers themselves in the narrative, either personally or professionally, thus enhancing their celebrity. This is an exploratory study that advances a framework to assess representational style through social media. The methodology includes an assessment of individual Twitter posts by the six most-followed members of Congress over a one-month span from February to March 2022 and categories them according to a particular type—work-talk, scandal, bitching, and chatting. This examination will further our understanding of what it means to be an effective representative in the age of celebrity politics and a gossip politic.
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In this paper we report on a study designed to assess the association between the popular HBO show Euphoria and the perspectives of Gen Z on the drug issue—beliefs regarding the causes of drug addiction, feelings toward drug users and those caught in drug addiction, and attitudes toward harm reduction, treatment, and punitive drug policies. In a survey using two samples of Mechanical Turk subjects we find that, depending on the level of transportability and eudaimonic motivations, those shown photos from Euphoria (in order to reevoke the show’s content) and those who report having watched the show evince perspectives in line with the content of the show. The results add to the growing body of research on the political effects of entertainment media.
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Despite the effectiveness of influenza vaccination, the vaccine coverage rate among high-risk groups in Hong Kong is less than optimal. Guided by the Health Belief Model (HBM) and culture-centric narrative approach, we examined the role of cultural specificities in implicit assumptions held by at-risk individuals when the individuals decided whether to receive the vaccine. Data were collected from 29 in-depth interviews with people from high-risk groups in Hong Kong. From their decision narratives, it is evident that the local socio-cultural characteristics and collectivistic ideology are useful in understanding the perceptions of influenza severity, susceptibility to infection, perceived barriers and benefits, and self-efficacy of accepting or rejecting the vaccine among the high-risk individuals. Implications of vaccination message designs are discussed.
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Las series televisivas ejercen una influencia significativa en sus consumidores, especialmente en lo que atañe a estereotipos lingüísticos y, por lo tanto, identitarios. En este contexto, este trabajo estudia la fraseología en la ficción seriada La que se avecina, actualmente en emisión y que cuenta con un considerable número de seguidores. Para ello, además de un marco teórico, se ha partido del concepto de pragmatema, que hace referencia a las expresiones lingüísticas fraseológicas que están restringidas por situaciones extralingüísticas particulares en su uso. El análisis de este eficaz y común elemento de comunicación a través del entorno seriado televisivo supone reconocer el modelo de comunicación empleado por este medio en la actualidad y el comportamiento de sus consumidores. Metodológicamente, tratamos de averiguar qué tipo de frases hechas o pragmatemas particulares de distintos personajes de la misma se han establecido en la lengua coloquial de los receptores a partir de una encuesta online de Google publicada en las redes sociales Twitter, Instagram, Facebook y WhatsApp, de manera que los resultados obtenidos pudieran ser anónimos, espontáneos e inmediatos. Los resultados concluyen en que estos elementos lingüísticos se han establecido en la lengua coloquial de nuestra sociedad.
Article
Character liking, identification, and parasocial interaction/relationships are terms used in various literatures to describe character engagement. The current paper synthesizes more than six decades of research in media psychology and communication science to organize and delineate four processes related to character engagement with fictional characters: Attention, Appraisal, Affiliation, and Assessment. In addition to defining and distinguishing these four processes, we describe how they are influenced by narrative, character, and viewer features, leading to moral adjustment – that is, a viewer’s own morality being shaped and molded through exposure to fictional personae. We endeavor here to diminish conceptual confusion and to clarify causal, temporal, and reciprocal relationships between the four factors regarding moral adjustment in viewers. By uniting these processes under a single conceptual model, we provide a framework for understanding moral adjustment through character engagement that can serve as a launch point for more focused research projects.
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This study investigated how avatar customization activated leadership styles which may influence subsequent altruistic behavior. Participants (N = 222) engaged in a resource allocation task after customizing avatars that combined their physical self with the traits of democratic or authoritarian business leaders relative to a control condition. Authoritarian condition participants showed decreased altruism than those in the democratic condition. Additionally, participants attributed increased leadership empowerment to their customized avatars but not to themselves. The findings supported the assumption that business leader primes can influence individuals’ behavior and provided initial evidence for how avatar customization can exert priming effects on altruism and social perceptions. Future research avenues for this line of research are further discussed.
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Avatars are an important feature of digital environments. Existing both in social networks and webchats (usually as static images) and in single-player and online video games (as dynamic characters, often humanoid), avatars are meant to represent users' action and communication within digital environments. Research has shown that, when they are customized by users, avatars are not created “randomly,” rather they maintain some kind of relationship with users' actual self-representation and identity. However, more recent studies showed that users may have multiple digital representations: the same person could create multiple avatars depending on which facet of the self is primed by an experimental manipulation, or on which aims they have to pursue in the given virtual environments (e.g., to seduce, to play, to work). With this background, this contribution explores the possibility to use customized avatars within psychological assessment, as adjunctive assessment tools useful to get information on patients' self-representation(s) and communicative intentions.
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The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it seeks to conceptualize attachment to manga (Japanese comics) by extrapolating attachment theory’s behavioral markers to manga readership. Second, it compares manga attachment markers between avid, moderate, and occasional readers in order to find differences in the strength of the attachment. The study predicted that (a) attachment theory’s common behavioral markers (i.e., proximity maintenance, safe haven, secure base, and separation distress) map onto manga readership and that (b) avid readers display stronger attachment behaviors towards manga than moderate and occasional readers. Participants (N = 279) answered a questionnaire identifying a set of 24 manga attachment markers. Analyses revealed a four-component solution that mirrors attachment theory’s markers, supporting the premise that manga attachment mirrors interpersonal attachment. The results also revealed statistically significant differences in the strength of the attachment behaviors to manga between avid, moderate, and occasional readers among three behavioral markers (i.e., proximity maintenance, safe haven, and separation distress), confirming that avid manga readers maintain proximity with manga, find in manga a safe haven when feeling distressed, and experience separation distress at the real or perceived possibility of the manga not being available. These findings contribute to the increasing literature and understanding on the role of media in individual’s wellbeing.
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Purpose-The research aims to get a deeper insight into the factors that impact players' loyalty to online streaming games in Thailand. Design/Methodology/Approach-The methods include research design, sampling plan, Questionnaire design, pilot test, validity check for the questionnaire, Methods to gather the data and its procedures, and the statistical treatment of the data. The research also made a new conceptual framework based on 3 frameworks from previous related studies. Findings-The loyalty to online streaming games in Thailand has factors that impact it. Such factors or independent variables are gaming intensity, experience, avatar identification, and flow. Loyalty is the dependent variable. The results show that all the independent variables are significant and impact players' loyalty to online streaming games in Thailand. Research Limitations/Implications-The main limitation was the COVID-19 pandemic; as most people stay at home and practice social distancing, it was somewhat hard to collect data personally. The research on gaming topics is also quite new, so the researchers could not dig too deep into the case. Originality/value-The study is about the loyalty of players in online streaming games in Thailand and the important factors that impact it. [Download full text -- http://www.assumptionjournal.au.edu/index.php/aumitjournal/article/view/6767]
Chapter
One’s digital identity on the Metaverse is critical enough to warrant EU regulation. Suggesting Interactive Digital Narratives as having a role to play in the Metaverse, we focus on the identity of the Virtual Reality interactor in such virtual spaces, and the potential impact this may have on the self-identity of the interactor. Building upon the notions of identity and the interactor’s construction of their narrative identity, we revisit identification in the context of VR Interactive Narratives (VRINs) and explore authenticity and character similarity as its dimensions. We interpret the construction of a narrative identity in VR as a vehicle for identity shift between the interactor’s self-identity and identification with the character. Based on the theoretical framework, we present a conceptual model for identity shift in VRINs which we then apply to a number of case studies to exemplify its utility and provide some guidelines for VRIN authors in how to use this model.KeywordVirtual realityInteractive narrativeIdentityAuthenticity
Book
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This is a collection of 21 articles published as an eBook in Frontiers in Psychology. This Research Topic aims to demonstrate that imaginative culture is an important functional part of evolved human behavior—diverse in its manifestations but unified by species-typical sets of biologically grounded motives, emotions, and cognitive dispositions. The topic encompasses four main areas of research in the evolutionary human sciences: (1) evolutionary psychology and anthropology, which have fashioned a robust model of evolved human motives organized systemically within the phases and relationships of human life history; (2) research on gene-culture coevolution, which has illuminated the mechanisms of social cognition and the transmission of cultural information; (3) the psychology of emotions and affective neuroscience, which have gained precise knowledge about the evolutionary basis and neurological character of the evolved emotions that give power to the arts, religion, and ideology; and (4) cognitive neuroscience, which has identified the Default Mode Network as the central neurological location of the human imagination. By integrating these four areas of research and by demonstrating their value in illuminating specific kinds of imaginative culture, this Research Topic aims at incorporating imaginative culture within an evolutionary conception of human nature.
Chapter
Attention has become an increasingly scarce resource in societies filled with content from various communication media. Cross-sectional data from the Monitoring the Future survey from 1976 to 2016 found the average 12th grader in 2016 spent more than twice as much time online as in 2006, spending a total of 6 h a day in 2016 including time online, texting, and social media. Youth spent significantly less time on print media, TV, or movies as compared to those in earlier decades, and the percentage of 12th graders who read a book or a magazine every day dropped from 60% in the 1970s to 16% in 2016. The rise of digital media along with the decline of traditional media has profound implications for how adolescents use their time.
Conference Paper
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Storifying gameful designs helps to engage players with desirable behavioral implications via enhanced narrative experience, the benefits of which are particularly prominent for developing serious mobile games to overcome their technical and contextual constraints. To understand the multifaceted nature of players’ narrative engagement with storified gameplay and provide guidance for future designs accordingly, in the present study, we conducted an online survey (N = 238) among users of eQuoo, a mobile app developed for improving users’ well-being with heavy storytelling components. With reflective-formative partial least squares modeling, we found participants’ evaluation of eQuoo’s storification features was positively associated with their narrative presence and identification in a statistically significant manner, which were further positively associated with their future use intention of and purchase intention on eQuoo. The findings with respect to the third dimension of narrative engagement examined in the study, suspension of disbelief, however, were comparatively inconsistent. Theoretical and design implications were discussed for future research and practice on storification and gamification on mobile platforms.
Article
Aunque Verano azul es una de las series de Televisión Española (TVE) más emblemáticas de la Transición, su impacto en el imaginario colectivo no se ha reflejado en el ámbito académico. Esta investigación aborda la representación de género en la serie de Mercero a través de una metodología basada en el análisis de contenido, con el fin de descubrir cómo se fraguó el espíritu de la época de la Transición en la ficción de la pequeña pantalla. Las conclusiones muestran que Verano azul ofrece un amplio abanico de nuevas masculinidades, sin un correlato real en la construcción de nuevas feminidades. La serie también incluye nuevas temáticas y valores, defendidos o al menos planteados por sus protagonistas, que reflejan el momento de cambio histórico que están viviendo.
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This dissertation looks at the psychological effects of the breathing camera, a type of camera optic flow (i.e., camera movement) that specifies a human observer quietly breathing. Drawing from J. J. Gibson’s (1979) ecological approach to perception, two key optical characteristics of the breathing camera are identified and manipulated to probe the influence of natural perception on mediated perception. The first, exteroceptive characteristic is the translation of the point of observation, which makes available depth information of the surroundings through global optic flow. The second characteristic is that the camera proprioceptively specifies a human observer by engaging in human-like events. The breathing camera is an immersive perceptual device that should increase the engagement of the viewer with the narrative. The contributions of the two optical characteristics to the breathing camera effects are experimentally tested with three conditions: a real breathing camera condition where both types of information are available, a fake breathing camera condition where only human-like proprioception is available, and a no camera flow condition where both types of information are absent. Two separate sets of stimuli were used for the experimental comparison. The first was a homemade set with 6 video messages filmed documentary-style where camera condition was a within-video variable. The second was a fiction set with 24 video messages extracted from dramatic and comedic serial narratives where camera condition was a between-video variable for the comparisons with the real camera. A combination of psychophysiological and self-reported methods were used to measure the effect of the breathing camera on the emotional and attentional responses of the viewer. The real motion camera was found to elicit higher physiological arousal than the other two cameras, indicating a stronger emotional response, and it was found to be equivalent to the no camera flow condition otherwise. The fake breathing camera was found to be the least effective condition, as shown by lower attention levels and less emotional responses than both the real breathing camera and than no camera flow. This was primarily confirmed by the physiological variables in the homemade set, and by the self-reported variables in the fiction set.
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Humans avoid thinking about death, yet they often watch tragic movies in which the main characters die. Seeking to explain this paradox, this research assessed conditions that motivate narrative processing of tragic movies about the loss of a loved one. Participants were assigned to a 3 (Mortality Salience of Self vs. Loved One vs. Control) × 2 (Movie Ending: Meaningful vs. Open) factorial design ( N = 187), and then completed measures of death-thought accessibility, mixed affect, boundary expansion, and identification. The two different mortality salience conditions increased death-thought accessibility in the same way. However, only mortality salience of a loved one increased mixed affect for movies with meaningful endings, which, in turn, predicted identification with the protagonist and boundary expansion into the story world. The findings suggest that movies about loss with meaningful endings may invite viewers to emotionally process the fundamental fear of losing a loved one.
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This article seeks to explain the mood repair process that sad viewers undergo and the mood enhancement process that happy viewers adopt when they watch drama series with varying levels of likability and familiarity. Building on the idea that drama enjoyment can regulate moods, the authors test three possible processes: transportation path (involving transportation and enjoyment), meaning path (involving transportation, moved feelings, thought reflections, and enjoyment), and parasocial support path (involving transportation, parasocial interactions, identification with drama characters, and enjoyment). The findings identify likability as crucial and also show that the processes vary for happy versus sad viewers. For a free copy, please click: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/IJGEG6ADIH8UAIQRIEUU/full?target=10.1080/08838151.2022.2146692
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The rhetoric leaders use to speak to domestic audiences about security is not simply bluster. Political agents rely upon stories of enmity and threat to represent what is happening in the international arena, to whom and why, in order to push national and international security policy agendas. They do so for the simple reason that a good story is a powerful political device. This article examines historical ‘calls to arms’ in the United States, based on insights from archival research at US presidential libraries and the United States National Archives. Drawing on narrative theory and political psychology, the article develops a new analytic framework to explain the political currency and staying power of hero–villain security narratives, which divide the world into opposing spheres of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Shifting the conceptual focus away from speakers and settings towards audience and affect, it argues that the resonance of hero–villain security narratives lies in the way their plot structure keeps the audience in suspense. Because they are consequential rhetorical tools that shape security policy practices, the stories political agents tell about security demand greater attention in the broader field of international security studies.
Article
In recent years, entertainment scholars have investigated the extent to which negative emotions such as grief, distress, and loneliness are experienced by viewers following the departure of a favorite character or the cancellation or completion of a television series – also referred to as parasocial breakup (PSB). An online questionnaire ( N = 814) was administered to understand predictors of PSB following the end of a series as they relate to character involvement and holistic enjoyment and appreciation experiences. Findings revealed that a parasocial relationship (PSR) with a favorite character and liking of and identification with the character positively enhanced enjoyment of the series. PSR and identification also facilitated appreciation of the series. Moreover, while PSR and appreciation increased PSB, character liking and enjoyment of the series decreased it. Theoretical implications for the contrasting roles of hedonic and eudaimonic media experiences in predicting PSB are discussed.
Chapter
When we think of everyday language use, the first things that come to mind include colloquial conversations, reading and writing e-mails, sending text messages or reading a book. But can we study the brain basis of language as we use it in our daily lives? As a topic of study, the cognitive neuroscience of language is far removed from these language-in-use examples. However, recent developments in research and technology have made studying the neural underpinnings of naturally occurring language much more feasible. In this book a range of international experts provide a state-of-the-art overview of current approaches to making the cognitive neuroscience of language more 'natural' and closer to language use as it occurs in real life. The chapters explore topics including discourse comprehension, the study of dialogue, literature comprehension and the insights gained from looking at natural speech in neuropsychology.
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The literature proposes that East Asians have a holistic view focusing on both salient objects and their backgrounds, whereas Westerners maintain an analytic view paying attention to focal objects and their attributes. Moreover, East Asians stress interdependency of self, while Westerners emphasize independency of self. The current study examined how cultural differences in world views and self-construals influence players' digital game experience, including visual attention, avatar identification, sense of agency, and spatial presence. Supporting the hypotheses, results showed that South Korean participants, compared to European participants, did pay greater attention to background objects, feel greater spatial presence, and lower agency over their avatar. Participants also differed in the association between spatial presence and enjoyment: spatial presence positively predicted enjoyment for South Korean participants, but not for European participants. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.
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This study explores the effects of exposure to a reality television narrative depicting genetic testing on attitudes and intentions, looking particularly at the effects of narratives containing elements of misinformation on genetics-related knowledge accuracy. In an experiment, participants completed a baseline survey, viewed a high versus low-accuracy narrative, then completed a follow-up survey. Exposure to a low-accuracy narrative was associated with lower knowledge accuracy. Indirect effects of identification and transportation on intentions to talk to a doctor about genetic testing also were detected via attitudes and reduced message counterarguing. Results illustrate the negative implications of inaccurate narratives on knowledge, which is concerning given the public’s low level of genetic literacy, as well as the critical role narrative engagement may play in shaping public attitudes and intentions regarding genetic testing.
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This study is a meta-analysis of primary studies that make a direct comparison between narrative and statistical evidence in both health- and non-health-related communication contexts. The meta-analysis included 50 studies with 65 experimental pairs (k = 65) based on 13,113 (20–1270) participants. We examined the overall persuasiveness of evidence type by computing the correlations (r’s) for all pairs, based on the random-effects model, which revealed an effect size of 0.016 (95% CI, −0.014 to 0.045, p = 0.296). Two types of evidence did not significantly differ in effectiveness under either communicative context. The moderation analysis indicated that narrative evidence had a significant advantage over statistical evidence for health messages advocating for prevention behaviors. Compared to non-student samples, the narrative evidence trumped statistical evidence for health-related issues. As communication research continues to investigate the implications for message persuasiveness derived by narrative and statistical appeals, our study suggests that the relative effectiveness is likely a complicated and nuanced matter. Practical implications and limitations have also been outlined.
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A taxonomy of emotions of literary response is presented. Some emotions occur as readers confront a text: they depend on curiosity as new material is assimilated to schemata, or on dishabituation as schemata accommodate. Further modes of emotion arise if readers enter the world of a story: they arise as a writer represents eliciting patterns of emotion and the reader responds with sympathy as story characters face these patterns, from personal memories of emotion, and by identification with characters' goals and plans. Based on cognitive theory and literary criticism, a theory of identification in fictional literature is presented, derived from Aristotle's concept mimesis. The usual translations, ‘imitation’ or ‘representation’, are misleading: mimesis means something closer to ‘simulation’, as in computers. Fictional simulations run on people's minds. For them to run successfully readers (a) adopt a character's goals and use their own planning procedures to connect actions together meaningfully, (b) form mental models of imagined worlds, (c) receive speech acts addressed to them by the writer, and (d) integrate disparate elements to create a unified experience. In providing materials for these functions, great writers allow readers to respond creatively, to feel moved emotionally, to understand within themselves some of the relations between actions and emotions, and sometimes to undergo cognitive change.
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Attachment theory was investigated as an alternative inter- personal theory for understanding how audience members form parasocial relationships with television personalities. Attachment theory posits that people develop relationships in either a secure or insecure fashion. We explored whether attachment styles influenced the extent to which individuals engage in parasocial interaction. A total of 115 students completed the parasocial scale and two attachment style questionnaires. Results provided evidence that attachment styles are related to parasocial behavior: Anxious-ambiva- lents were the most likely to form parasocial bonds, Avoidants were the least likely to develop such relationships, and Secures were in the middle, with the more mistrusting Secures showing a tendency to engage in parasocial interac- tion. The discussion focuses on the implications of these find- ings for the attachment process. KEY WORDSattachment behaviorparasocial interactiontele- vision viewing
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Uses and gratifications is seen as a viable communication perspective for examining the interface of interpersonal and mass communication. This essay explicates the interpersonal dimension of uses and gratifications models, including individual needs and functional alternatives. The uses of interpersonal channels are considered as coequal alternatives to the uses of media channels for the gratification of social and psychological needs. The parallels between uses and gratifications and interpersonal communication perspectives are explained and a research agenda is created for future investigations of why and how media and personal interaction are used to gratify individual communicative needs.
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Tested the view that the number of arguments in a message could affect agreement with a communication by serving as a simple acceptance cue when personal involvement was low but could affect agreement by enhancing issue-relevant thinking when personal involvement was high. In addition to manipulating the personal relevance of the communication topic, both the number and the quality of the arguments in the message were varied. In a pilot study with 46 undergraduates, when the issue was of low relevance, Ss showed more agreement in response to a message containing 6 arguments (3 strong and 3 weak) than to messages containing either 3 strong or 3 weak arguments. Under high involvement, however, the 6-argument message did not increase agreement over the message containing only 3 strong arguments. In the full experiment, 168 undergraduates received either 3 or 9 arguments that were either all cogent or all specious under conditions of either high or low involvement. The manipulation of argument number had a greater impact under low than under high involvement, but the manipulation of argument quality had a greater impact under high than low involvement. Results indicate that increasing the number of arguments in a message could affect persuasion whether or not the actual content of the arguments was scrutinized. (53 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The tendency to "bask in reflected glory" (BIRG) by publicly announcing one's associations with successful others was investigated in 3 field experiments with more than 300 university students. All 3 studies showed this effect to occur even though the person striving to bask in the glory of a successful source was not involved in the cause of the source's success. Exp I demonstrated the BIRG phenomenon by showing a greater tendency for university students to wear school-identifying apparel after their school's football team had been victorious than nonvictorious. Exps II and III replicated this effect by showing that students used the pronoun we more when describing victory than a nonvictory of their school's football team. A model was developed asserting that the BIRG response represents an attempt to enhance one's public image. Exps II and III indicated, in support of this assertion, that the tendency to proclaim a connection with a positive source was strongest when one's public image was threatened. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Considerable research has been devoted to the effects of celebrity endorsers on consumer behavior. Most of the research has examined credibility or attractiveness as a determinant of message effectiveness. A review of Burke, Kelman, and Bandura's theories suggests that there may be another critical factor underlying celebrity effects -- identification. A review of previous research results suggests that identification may be a viable explanation for the effectiveness of celebrity endorsers. A test of the identification effect was probed by examining people's personal concern, perceived risk, and sexual behaviors a year after Magic Johnson's announcement that he tested positive for HIV. The results of this study indicate that identification mediates message effects. This finding has important implications for media campaigns. It suggests that a spokesperson with whom the audience identifies insures the greatest likelihood of achieving lasting attitude or behavior change.
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Attitude and opinion data provide a basis for inferring the meaning of opinions held by individuals and groups and also for predictions about their future behavior. Such inferences and predictions, if they are to be made effectively, require a theoretical foundation which explains the processes by which people adopt and express particular opinions. Here is a theory of three processes by which persons respond to social influence.
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This article offers a way of categorising viewers' involvement in Television by type of response, with particular reference to popular soap operas. It postulates four types of viewer engagement, each capable of further elaboration and of co-existing within the same person. The author also explores the ambivalence of viewer engagement and the relative effectiveness of its positive and negative aspects.
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An experiment was conducted to extend the research evidence concerning direct responses to the realm of social interaction by replicating, in the context of television viewing, key findings and predictions concerning the use of interpersonal distance. In the study, 32 subjects watched excerpts of television news broadcasts that featured individual anchors speaking to the camera. Apparent interpersonal distance was manipulated via viewing distance (close = 10, 24, and 38 inches; normal = 30, 72, and 115 inches) and screen size (small = 10 inches measured diagonally; medium = 26 inches; large = 42 inches). Although results for the viewing distance manipulation failed to support predictions, as expected, subjects watching larger television screens reported more positive emotional responses to the people on the screen and the viewing environment and selected a viewing position that represented a smaller withdrawal from the encounter. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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The present study explores the links between individual TV viewers’ working models of attachment (Bowlby, 1980) and the parasocial relations they establish with their favorite TV character. Student subjects answered a survey that assessed the intensity of their parasocial relationships and the content of their mental models of attachment. Results show a selective pattern of relationships between attachment models and parasocial relationships. For dating subjects, males were found to have stronger parasocial relationships with their favorite characters as they were more anxious about their current partner. Females, on the other hand, were found to have stronger parasocial relationships as they were more secure in their current. Findings are discussed in terms of gender differences in romantic relationships.
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The present study explores the factors influencing Israeli teenage viewers’ choice of their favorite TV character from a popular night‐time serial. Participants were asked to choose a character from the show's cast of characters, and explain why they preferred that character. Results show that choices of characters were predicted by viewer sex and nationality, and that the reasons for character preferences are related more to attributes of the character than to attributes of the viewer.
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The parasocial interaction relationship development process was explored by applying principles of uncertainty reduction theory. Results suggested that parasocial relationship development follows a path from (a) social and task attraction to (b) parasocial interaction to (c) a sense of relationship importance. Length of exposure to the television character was not related to parasocial interaction in the path model. The study affirmed the contribution of interpersonal communication theories to understanding relationships people have with television personalities. Implications for future research were explored.
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The study examined the relationship of interpersonal homophily and self‐esteem with the development of parasocial interaction. “Attitude”; homophily was found to be the strongest predictor, among the independent variables, of parasocial interaction for all three groups of television performers. The results also indicated that certain dimensions of a person's self‐esteem helped to predict and to explain parasocial interaction. The study showed how an integration of interpersonal and mass communication theories contributes to our knowledge of parasocial interaction.
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The present investigation explores the enjoyment of cinematic tragedy. In particular, it examines the seemingly paradoxical relationship between the intensity of empathic distress during exposure, on the one hand, and the magnitude of enjoyment following exposure to the entire drama, on the other. In a quasi-experimental design, trait empathy (low, high) was cross-varied with gender of respondent. Empathic reactions of negative hedonic valence were obtained at three points during the film. After film exposure, respondents indicated their enjoyment of the film as a whole. Results showed proportional hedonic reversals from distress to enjoyment. High empathizers experienced more empathic distress during the film than low empathizers, but also enjoyed the film as a whole more than low empathizers did. Additionally, females experienced more empathic distress than males, but also enjoyed the film as a whole more than males did. Those who experienced greater hedonic lows during exposure to tragic happenings thus came to experience greater hedonic highs after the resolution of tragic drama.
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The popular notion of identification with characters in drama is examined, and its usefulness in explaining emotional reactivity to drama is questioned. The concept of empathy is developed as an alternative, and its usefulness is demonstrated. Empathy theory is reviewed, and selected supportive findings are presented. Reflexive, acquired, and deliberate forms of empathy are distinguished as motor mimicry, empathy proper, and perspective taking. Special attention is given to conditions under which empathy reverses to counterempathy. The development of affective dispositions toward characters featured in drama is considered crucial, and the dynamics of character development are examined in terms of dispositional consequences. Empathic reactions are linked to positive affective dispositions and counterempathic reactions to negative affective dispositions. Emotional involvement with drama is explained on the basis of dispositionally controlled empathy and counterempathy.
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The role of television as significant other was explored by looking at relationships between various self-concepts, perceived closeness of self to television and television exposure. Questionnaires consisting of paired comparisons, Likert-scale items, and demographics were administered to approximately 50 male and 50 female adults in each of five major metropolitan areas representing the five countries of Japan, Korea, the Philippines, the United States, and Great Britain. The following variables were then correlated with the concept pair, "TV and me," and with television exposure ("intelligence and me," "frustration and me," "satisfaction and me," "competence and me," "happiness and me," "obedience and me," "independence and me," "ideal man/ woman and me," "education and me," level of education, egalitarianism, and role flexibility). Results indicated higher correlations with TV and me compared to exposure. Highly statistically significant patterns were observed with all groups combined; several nonsignificant but consistent trends were noted between males and females. Overall, gender differences outnumbered cross-cultural differences. The discussion emphasized the role of television as significant other and the value of TV and me as an index of this parasocial process. The relative contributions of the factors affecting TV and me need to be assessed in further research.
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One hundred and six children in Grades 1, 2, and 3 (Cohort 1) and 120 children in Grades 3, 4, and 5 (Cohort 2) were tested in an overlapping longitudinal design which examined children's television viewing and its correlates during three successive years (1979-1981). The children were tested in a study that was part of a cross cultural investigation of TV viewing and its effects in six different countries. Measures were taken of sex-typed behaviour, fantasy activity, judged realism, identification with TV characters, and peer-rated aggression in multiple testing sessions conducted by a team of trained investigators. Age trends were reported for the two cohorts and data were examined especially for the relationships found between violence viewing and intensity of TV viewing and aggressive behaviour. The study showed consistent sex differences among the variables being investigated, especially for the older cohort and it was for boys especially that significant relationships were observed between the two TV viewing variables and aggressive behaviour. There was no indication, however, that the connection over time was causally linked.
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Children aged 7 to 12 were interviewed about their favorite TV character. Nearly all boys and about half of the girls selected same‐sex favorites. Regression analyses used perceived character traits (attractiveness, strength, humor, intelligence, social behavior) to predict wishful identification and parasocial interaction with characters. For male characters, wishful identification was predicted by intelligence and (for girls only) humor; parasocial interaction was predicted by intelligence, attractiveness, and (for boys only) strength. In marked contrast, for female characters (chosen only by girls), attractiveness was the only significant predictor. Although girls rated female characters as more intelligent than male characters, this trait apparently was not an important determinant of attraction. Interpretations of the findings and implications for socialization effects are discussed.
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Following the proposal of Rubin & Rubin (1985) that scholars turn their attention to the study of the intersection between mass and interpersonal communication, this paper reviews literature comparing different forms and contexts of communication. Underlying the motivations for both mediated and face‐to‐face communication is a basic need for social affiliation. The need for social affiliation is so central for communication because it stems from, and is necessary for, understanding who we are in relation to the world around us, thus enabling us to achieve what Silverstone (1993) terms “ontological security.” That is, our desire for security underlies a need for social affiliation that leads us to communicate with others in different ways. It is hoped that this proposition may form the basis for a more integrative theory of communication that may transcend specific media, content, or contexts. The differences in the ways various modes of communication serve to create such an understanding are explored and compared along five dimensions: intimacy, accessibility, control, relaxation, and identification. Finally, suggestions for the extension of this proposition are discussed.
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deals with the manner in which viewers form impressions of media characters and respond to characters' experiences / the terms impression and perception are used to refer to a viewer's overall conception of what a character is like the chapter is divided into three parts / the first part deals with the major sources of information about media characters and how each type of information affects impressions / the second part deals with how specific viewer characteristics influence the way viewers utilize the available information about media protagonists / the final section discusses implications of character perceptions for viewers' responses to depicted characters and events (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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After three years the author reports his observations of prisoners in Dachau and Buchenwald (concentration camps) in 1938-1939. The purposes of the camps were (1) to break individuals into docile masses, (2) to terrorize and discourage group opposition to Nazism, (3) to train Gestapo men in methods of breaking human spirit, and (4) to study effects of the worst conditions of cruelty and slavery. As an ego defense the author used his training to study personality changes of himself and others in adapting to extreme hardships. Criminals and politically educated internees withstood the shock best, whereas middle class internees disintegrated. Ego defenses were varied and extreme, with split personalities practically universal. The author outlines the Gestapo methods of destroying group spirit, developing childishness in internees, and preventing martyrdom. New prisoners were aggressive to friends and guards, interested in escape and in keeping their personalities intact. Old prisoners lost interest in world affairs, tried to keep peace in camp, feared adjusting to life outside of camp, and identified themselves with the Gestapo. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
758 children in the US and 220 children in Finland were interviewed and tested in each of 3 yrs in an overlapping longitudinal design covering Grades 1–5. Parents of 591 US Ss and 193 Finnish Ss were also interviewed. For girls in the US and boys in both countries, TV violence viewing was significantly related to concurrent aggression and significantly predicted future changes in aggression. The strength of the relation depended as much on the frequency with which violence was viewed as on the extent of the violence. For boys, the effect was exacerbated by the degree to which the boy identified with TV characters. Path analyses suggested a bidirectional causal effect in which violence viewing engendered aggression, and aggression engendered violence viewing. No evidence was found that those Ss predisposed to aggression or those with aggressive parents were affected more by TV violence. However, a number of other variables (e.g., strong identification with aggressive characters) were correlates of aggression and violence viewing. A multiprocess model in which violence viewing and aggression affect each other and, in turn, are stimulated by related variables is used to explain the findings. (74 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Subjects with some religious affiliation are more prejudiced than those without affiliation, but no significant difference between Protestants and Catholics. There is a low but significant negative relation of intelligence and education to ethnocentrism. Interviews threw light on parental relations, childhood, conception of self, and dynamics and organization of personality. Projective techniques are described and results analyzed. 63 interviews are analyzed qualitatively for prejudice, political and economic ideas, religious ideology and syndromes among high and low scorers. The development of two contrasting cases is given. Criminality and antidemocratic trends in prison inmates and a study of clinic patients complete the investigation of the authoritarian personality pattern. 121 references. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A conceptual model was developed predicting parasocial interaction from both a social interaction need due to loneliness and instrumental television news use. Questionnaires were completed by 329 persons. Pearson and partial correlations supported hypotheses linking loneliness with less interpersonal communication and both loneliness and parasocial interaction with more television reliance. Loneliness and parasocial interaction were not correlated. Canonical correlation analysis supported expectations that instrumental news viewing for information was related to more parasocial interaction and perceived news realism; viewing news for exciting entertainment, news affinity, and news viewing levels correlated positively with this pattern. Ritualized news viewing for time consumption was related to more television viewing, but to less news viewing, duration, and affinity. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis identified news affinity, perceived news realism, and information news viewing motives as salient predictors of parasocial interaction with a favorite local television news personality. Implications of results were discussed in light of uses and gratifications research and communication interaction.