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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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Fact or Fiction: An Investigation of Empathy Differences in Response to Emotional Melodramatic Entertainment

Jennifer J. Argo, Rui Zhu, Darren W. Dahl
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/521907 614-623 First published online: 1 February 2008


Three studies investigate the influence of empathy and the level of fictionality of short stories on consumers' evaluations of emotional melodramatic entertainment. We find that high empathizers' evaluations are more favorable when the story is low in fictionality (i.e., real) versus high. In contrast, low empathizers' evaluations do not differ, regardless of the level of fictionality, except when these individuals (i.e., males) are provided with an excuse to become involved in the story; in this case a story that is high (i.e., make-believe) as opposed to low in fictionality is evaluated more favorably. Finally, transportation (i.e., absorption into a narrative) with the story is found to both moderate and mediate the effects.

  • Situation/Context Issues
  • Affect/Emotions/Mood
  • Aesthetic/Hedonic Consumption
  • Sex roles/Gender Issues
  • Experimental Design and Analysis (ANOVA)
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