This study provides evidence for the independent and additive effects of story exploration and character customization induced by fictional narratives on causal attribution and support formarginalized groups. In Study 1 (N = 163), participants read a story about a transgender teenager. Story exploration influenced identification and narrative engagement, increasing external attribution for the character’s negative actions, as well as engendering more positive attitudes toward transgender individuals. Study 2 (N = 116) replicated these results in the context of undocumented immigration. Study 3 (N = 230) focused on a story about a Muslim teenager. Analysis suggested that the strongest impact on causal attribution is achieved by allowing readers to design the main character (i.e., customization) and control the narrative (i.e., exploration).
- Causal attribution
- Narrative persuasion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language