Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Applied Communication Theory and Methodology

Department

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Perioff, Richard

Subject Headings

Communication; Film Studies; Mass Communications; Personality

Abstract

The Transportation-Imagery Model (Green & Brock, 2000) has been studied extensively in terms of the persuasive nature of a well written narrative. Researchers have studied the model through the realm of film (Moyer-Guse, 2008), text (Appel & Richter, 2010), and its applicability in health behavior change (Hinyard & Kreuter, 2007). Narratives have been found to provoke belief change either cognitively or affectively by changing attitudes through the processes of story receivers journey into the story-world, this journey has been deemed “transportation” (Green & Brock, 2000; 2004). The primary goal of this study is to explore the role of individual difference factors and how they may influence a specific proclivity to transportation. Emotional involvement in a story may stem from individual differences such as perceptions of suspense, empathy, need for affect, and sensation seeking. These variables were explored as potential moderators of transportation. As learning from media via transportation has been documented (Van Laer, De Ruyter, Visconti & Wetzels, 2014; Appel & Richter, 2007), it is important to understand what types of individuals are more likely to be transported to best utilize the transportation-imagery model.


Participants were asked to fill out an initial survey assessing individual differences in empathy (Reniers, Corcoran, Drake, Shryane, & V¿llm, 2011). need for affect (Appel et al., 2012), and sensation seeking (Lopez-Bonilla & Lopez-Bonilla, 2010). Within a month, participants were exposed to a short film which explored potential consequences of social media. Participants were then asked to respond to a questionnaire. Measures included audience response (Oliver & Bartsch, 2010) transportation (Green & Brock, 2000), character identification (Igartua & Barrios, 2012), character morality (Eden, Tamborini, Grizzard, Lewis, Weber, & Prabhu, 2014) and Facebook intensity (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). items. Additionally, participants responded to story-consistent attitude items, these are questions related to the topic of the film including attitudes towards adolescents and attitudes towards social media.

Results demonstrate the importance of considering individual personality differences in transportation research, but did not provide evidence to back up moderation hypotheses. Therefore, individual differences such as empathy, need for affect, and perceptions of suspense may impact some of the variance of the total transportation-imagery model, but do not ensure a stronger relationship between predictor and outcome variables. Theoretical implications are discussed.

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