‘Losing yourself’ in a fictional character can affect your real life
“If participants knew early on that the character was not like them—that he was gay—that prevented them from really experience-taking,” [Researcher Lisa] Libby said.
“But if they learned late about the character’s homosexuality, they were just as likely to lose themselves in the character as were the people who read about a heterosexual student.”
Researchers at Ohio State studying the phenomenon of “experience taking”—that is, identifying with the central character of a narrative—and find that the right story at the right time can lead subjects to alter their own behavior. Variables tested through a series of experiments included the type of narrative (first or third person), reading settings, and the timing of revelation (i.e., whether markers of difference between character and reader matter if given early in the story or late).
I do wonder whether the voting study would be replicable with students in a year that didn’t have Barack Obama running for his first term in office.
“‘Losing yourself’ in a fictional character can affect your real life”