Volume 35, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236


There is ample empirical evidence for the fact that narratives can influence an audience’s attitudes. In this study, we address the question as to whether the persuasive impact of stories can be explained by the emotions evoked as a result of the audience identifying with the protagonist. In an experiment, the extent to which participants identified with a character was manipulated through portraying the character as more or less sympathetic. The resulting difference in identification with this character did not only result in experiencing more intense emotions but also in a more favorable attitude. Mediation analyses revealed that the impact on the attitude was mediated by the extent to which emotions were evoked, which in turn was mediated by the extent to which participants identified with the character. The extent to which participants perceived the story as realistic proved a mediating variable as well in explaining the impact on the attitude. The results of this study shed more light on an important mechanism of narrative persuasion.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): emotions; identification; narrative persuasion; perceived realism
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