Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations

Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations

Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations

Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations

Synopsis

The impact of public narratives has been so broad (including effects on beliefs and behavior but extending beyond to emotion and personality), that the stakeholders in the process have been located across disciplines, institutions, governments, and, indeed, across epochs. Narrative Impact draws upon scholars in diverse branches of psychology and media research to explore the subjective experience of public narratives, the affordances of the narrative environment, and the roles played by narratives in both personal and collective spheres. The book brings together current theory and research presented primarily from an empirical psychological and communications perspective, as well as contributions from literary theory, sociology, and censorship studies. To be commensurate with the broad scope of influence of public narratives, the book includes the narrative mobilization of major social movements, the formation of self-concepts in young people, banning of texts in schools, the constraining impact of narratives on jurors in the court room, and the wide use of education entertainment to affect social changes. Taken together, the interdisciplinary nature of the book and its stellar list of contributors set it apart from many edited volumes. Narrative Impact will draw readership from various fields, including sociology, literary studies, and curriculum policy. Providing new explanatory concepts, this book: *is the first account on the psychology of narrative persuasion and brings together the relevant conceptualizations from within various sectors of psychology together with the major issues that concern cognate disciplines outside of psychology; *focuses on understanding the mechanisms that underlie the power of public narratives to achieve broad historical and social changes; *offers breakthroughs to the future: the role of "presence" in virtual reality narratives; the role of "zines" in females' fashioning of their selves; and the central role of imagery in transportation into narrative worlds; *explains varying roles of emotion in narrative immersion; and *addresses the growing blurring of fact and fiction: mechanisms and implications for beliefs and behavior.

Excerpt

Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations highlights the key role that stories play in shaping our memories, knowledge and beliefs. The editors, Melanie Green, Jeffrey Strange and Timothy Brock, have brought together an insightful group of investigators and their chapters collectively create a picture of an emerging and lively research domain with many questions of interest to various disciplines. At the heart of the endeavor is the idea that stories are a particularly compelling source of information and that public narratives (e.g., books, movies, news stories, TV programs) have the potential to have a profound and far-reaching influence on what we remember, know and believe. It is not hard to imagine a future where the influence of public narratives is even greater as the world increasingly is connected via television, movies, and the Internet. The focused and systematic study of the impact of narratives contributes to our understanding of cognition, emotion, and social processes in a number of ways.

This volume stimulates thinking about the cognitive and social mechanisms of learning and memory, and of persuasion and influence. Can we use available theoretical constructs (e.g., constructive and reconstructive processing, story schemas, situation models, causal chains, source monitoring, counterarguing, accessibility, social norms, social learning) to understand the impact of public narratives, or does this domain require new principles that might, in turn, broaden our conceptualization of cognitive and social processes in other domains? It causes us to think about how effective narratives are crafted, the relation between cognition and emotion, the tech-

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