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The European Journal of Communication Research

Founded by Silbermann, Alphons

Ed. by Krotz, Friedrich

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Identification with characters and narrative persuasion through fictional feature films

Juan-José Igartua1

1Professor of Process and Media Effects, University of Salamanca, Spain. E-Mail:

Citation Information: Communications. Volume 35, Issue 4, Pages 347–373, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: 10.1515/comm.2010.019, November 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


This article presents three studies examining the importance of identification with characters in research on media entertainment. In Study 1 it was found that identification with characters was associated with spectators' degree of enjoyment of feature films of different genres. Study 2 showed that identification with characters predicts the affective impact of a dramatic film and, also, it was associated with greater cognitive elaboration and a more complex reflexive process during the viewing of the dramatic film. In Study 3 it was observed that identification with characters predicted the incidental impact of a full length fictional film on attitudes and beliefs. These results support the centrality of the construct of identification with characters in narrative persuasion research.

Keywords:: identification with the characters; narrative persuasion; media entertainment; feature films

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