Drama, Emotion, and Cultural Convergence


  • D. Lawrence Kincaid

    1. Larry Kincaid is an associate scientist in the Center for Communication Programs, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.
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This article derives a set of hypotheses to explain how drama can affect the behavior of the audience. First, theories of drama explain how to create a drama that involves the audience. Second, drama theory explains how confrontation leads to emotional response, cognitive reorientation, and character change within a drama, both fictional and real. A convergence theory of communication predicts that audience members who perceive the change in characters with whom they closely identify will be influenced to change their behavior. Cognitive image mapping is used to illustrate how these hypotheses could be tested with an entertainment—education drama about AIDS in Africa.