Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Narrative transportation is a process of emotional, cognitive, and mental imagery engagement with a story, which often results in greater agreement with that story's themes (e.g., Green & Brock, 2000). Previous research (e.g., Green & Donahue, 2011) has shown that people are often unwilling or unable to resist narrative persuasion, despite a motivation to do so. The current studies directly examine different defensive strategies to resist narrative persuasion. Study 1 directed participants to adopt strategies to either attempt to remain unaffected by a narrative or to actively counterargue counter-attitudinal themes of the narrative. It found that, contrary to the hypothesis, preparing counterarguments may be more effective than attempting to remain emotionally unaffected, although neither strategy entirely eliminated persuasion. Study 2 attempted to demonstrate that people spontaneously are less transported into a story after being previously warned of the author's persuasive intent, but are more transported when warned of the topics and themes advocated by a persuasive narrative. Again, the hypotheses were not confirmed. Possible reasons for the studies' failures are discussed, as well as findings that may be useful for future research.