Metacognitive approach to narrative persuasion: the desirable and undesirable consequences of narrative disfluency

Nathan Walter*, Helena Bilandzic, Norbert Schwarz, John J. Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current article tests the metacognitive proposition that the relative ease or difficulty with which narrative messages are processed can affect subsequent judgment. Challenging the assertion that experienced disfluency is mostly negative and undesirable, it is argued that disfluent (difficult-to-process) narratives are well-positioned to facilitate narrative persuasion when people hold value-laden beliefs. Using the controversial context of physician-assisted suicide, two experiments (N1 = 204, N2 = 558) demonstrate that a metacognitive experience of difficulty is used to infer positions regarding the narrative message. The article then proceeds to test a theoretical model, showing that fluent narratives gain their strength by facilitating the experience of flow among ambivalent individuals, whereas disfluent narratives can challenge value-laden beliefs by attenuating attitude certainty. Implications are discussed and future directions for a metacognitive approach to narrative persuasion are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalMedia Psychology
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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