Morality and Narrative Persuasion

On Tuesday I gave a talk at Nijmegen University on the role of morality in narrative persuasion. Abstract of the talk and link to slides below!

Stories have been used throughout history to communicate social information. Narratives increase emotional engagement in viewers by transporting them to the world of the story and characters. But how does narrative persuasion interface with existing, deeply held attitudes such as moral beliefs and social attitudes? The prevailing theory is that narratives work best when reinforcing existing attitudes. But entertainment research suggests that the mechanisms underlying narrative engagement (such as identification) may work even in cases when characters display morals counter to those held by the viewer. Therefore my current research attempts to reconcile persuasion and entertainment findings by testing the role of morality in the attention to and retention of persuasive information in media. This talk will overview theoretical arguments regarding the role of morality in persuasion models, as well as demonstrate practical relevance in using moral framing to increase narrative persuasion effectiveness.

Link to slides:

Morality and narrative persuasion