Maybe medium does matter: Considering differences in individual's trait empathy and the effect on narrative transportation
Weiss, Julia K.
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Within the narrative transportation literature, narrative medium—defined as the medium through which a narrative is presented—has thus far been considered a nonsignificant determinant of transportation; visual media, such as film and television, and text-based media, such as novels, are presumed to be equally capable of leading to transportation. However, the possibility of narrative medium to interact with individual difference variables has not been fully examined. The current study uses a one-way, between-subjects experiment to test whether differences in trait cognitive and affective empathy interact with narrative medium to lead to differential levels of transportation. Results indicate that differences in individuals’ trait affective empathy may influence the degree of felt transportation such that the more affectively empathetic an individual is, the more transportation they experience. Additionally, affective empathy appears to facilitate transportation more so for text-based narratives than film-based narratives. Implications and future directions for the transportation literature are discussed.