Exploring Mechanisms of Narrative Persuasion in a News Context: The Role of Narrative Structure, Perceived Similarity, Stigma, and Affect in Changing Attitudes
Tamul, Daniel J.
Hotter, Jessica C.
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Two exploratory studies demonstrate, for the first time, that narrative persuasion can diminish the stigma attached to social groups featured in journalistic narratives. Study 1 shows narrative format improves stigma toward Syrian refugees indirectly through narrative engagement, perceived similarity, and meaningful affect. Decreases in stigma also improved attitudes toward refugees. Study 2 replicates these findings against a separate participant pool, an additional story topic, and compares changes in engagement, stigma, and attitude to a non-narrative fact sheet and a control condition. A preregistered third study seeks to validate the finding that narratives can elicit destigmatization and disentangle the roles of story exemplars from story structure.